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Michael Garcia: Fifa World Cup bid investigator

Michael Garcia Image copyright AFP
Image caption Michael Garcia was hired by Fifa to probe allegations of corruption

Michael Garcia, the American lawyer hired by Fifa to investigate the World Cup bidding process before criticising the organisation's summary of his own report and eventually resigning, is a former prosecutor with a history of launching corruption probes.

He was a surprise choice to lead the Fifa investigation, and ruffled feathers at football's governing body. On one occasion, he turned up unannounced to interview members of the senior executive committee who had cast votes in the World Cup bids.

Even before he dismissed Fifa's report as "erroneous", there were signs that he was not afraid to pick a fight with his employers.

In an interview last year he said his authority was to investigate "any official, top down, for misconduct... no-one is above the ethics code".

He acknowledged that he took on the investigation as an outsider. "I come into this case with no history or experience of what might have happened," he said. "I will look at the facts and my jurisdiction and make decisions on whether the ethics code was violated."

In a recent talk to lawyers in London about ethics in sport, Mr Garcia said Fifa's ethic's code needed transparency and leadership - a comment seen as a thinly veiled critique of Fifa boss Sepp Blatter.

He eventually quit Fifa in December 2014, saying that a "lack of leadership" at the organisation had led to his decision.

High-profile cases

Mr Garcia made his name in his native New York, serving as a federal prosecutor with the Southern District of New York from 1992 to 2001 and working on a series of high-profile cases.

These included the prosecution of four defendants for the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, and the investigation into the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

He once told his daughter that his goal was "to punish people who do bad things and break the law".

In March 2003 President George W Bush appointed Mr Garcia, a Republican, as assistant secretary for immigration and customs enforcement. The post put him in charge of more than 20,000 staff and a budget of more than $4bn.

Later he moved back to New York's Southern District, serving as a US attorney from 2005-2008. There he supervised investigations into securities fraud, bringing a series of insider trading prosecutions. An investigation he led ultimately forced the resignation of Democratic governor Eliot Spitzer over a prostitution scandal.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Garcia launched an investigation which ended the career of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, pictured

But he also took on some major international corruption and fraud cases, including the oil-for-food programme in Iraq and alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by the Norwegian energy firm Statoil.

He is currently a partner at private US law firm Kirkland and Ellis, and it was from here that he was chosen by Fifa in 2012 to lead the investigation into the bidding process that awarded the World Cup to Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.

A year later he was among 18 Americans barred from entering Russia in Moscow's response to the Magnitsky List, which banned Russian officials from the US.

Married to an FBI agent, he has kept largely out of the media spotlight and has not run for public office, despite speculation that he could be in a strong position to do so.

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Media captionWorld Cup 2022: Qatar cleared of corruption by Fifa

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