Sepp Blatter

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 21: FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter attends a press conference as reaction to his banishment for eight years by the FIFA ethics committee at FIFA's former headquarters at Sonnenberg on December 21, 2015 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images)
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Former FIFA head Blatter has surgery for skin cancer

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ZURICH (AP) — Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has undergone minor surgery to treat skin cancer.

Blatter’s spokesman, Thomas Renggli, tells The Associated Press that he is at “home and fine” after a surgical procedure on his left ear.

The 80-year-old Blatter spent one night at a clinic before being discharged on Thursday, Renggli says.

Blatter spent several days in a hospital in Zurich last November after a stress-related collapse while he was suspended from duty by the FIFA ethics committee and subjected to criminal proceedings by federal prosecutors in Switzerland.

Now barred for six years for conflict of interest, Blatter has an appeal hearing on Aug. 25 at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Blatter’s 18-year stint as FIFA president ended in February when former UEFA official Gianni Infantino was elected.

FIFA headquarters raided in reference to Blatter, Valcke investigations

PRATO, ITALY - APRIL 13: General view during the FIFA Futsal playoff match between Italy and Hungary on April 13, 2016 in Prato, Italy.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
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If anyone thought the FIFA corruption and bribery investigations were nearing an end, think again.

According to the Associated Press, Swiss authorities have re-entered FIFA headquarters in Zurich in search of evidence involving ongoing cases for former president Sepp Blatter and Jerome Valcke.

Led by Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber, Blatter, Valcke and former FIFA financial officer Markus Kattner are being heavily pursued for reportedly awarding themselves in excess of $80 million in bonuses over a five-year period.

“Documents and electronic data were seized and will now be examined to determine their relevance to the ongoing proceedings,” the federal prosecution office said Friday, one day after the latest search at FIFA headquarters in Zurich.

Both Blatter and Valcke have been under investigation for months, while Blatter has been banned from all FIFA activities for six years and Valcke for 12 years.

Kattner was fired last week by FIFA after irregular payments were discovered amounting to millions of dollars.

The news comes just weeks after new president Gianni Infantino declared that “the crisis is over” in regards to the entire FIFA corruption scandal.

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Qatar World Cup head: Blatter US support should be looked at

Sepp Blatter, FIFA president
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LONDON (AP) The head of the Qatar World Cup says Sepp Blatter’s support for the rival United States bid for the 2022 tournament should face more scrutiny.

Qatar’s FIFA backers have been criticized for seemingly ignoring the inspection report before voting for the Gulf nation in 2010.

But Hassan Al-Thawadi, secretary general of the Qatar organizing committee, says then-FIFA President Blatter “wanted the U.S. to win regardless of the merits of the bid, regardless of anything else … that needs to be looked at.”

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Addressing a London audience, Al-Thawadi added that “it’s just fascinating that nobody is raising any concerns about that (Blatter) and looking into that … but fair enough. I guess we will take the flak again.”

The U.S. bid has not been accused of impropriety. Qatar has also denied any wrongdoing.

Sepp Blatter says he hasn’t been contacted by FBI

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - MAY 30:  FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter talks to the press during the FIFA Post Congress Week Press Conference at the Home of FIFA on May 30, 2015 in Zurich, Switzerland.  (Photo by Alessandro Della Bella/Getty Images)
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Sepp Blatter has revealed that he has heard nothing from the U.S. Department of Justice over its ongoing investigation into corruption at FIFA.

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World soccer’s governing body was rocked to its core last May when U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Swiss authorities indicted 16 FIFA officials and many more businessmen involved in deals regarding broadcast and sponsorship of FIFA events.

Blatter, 80, has retired as FIFA’s president and a new man, Gianni Infantino, is in charge.

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However, the man who led FIFA for over 17 years is never far from the limelight and spoke to Sky Sports in the UK on Thursday as he launched his new book in Zurich.

Asked if he’d had any contact with U.S. officials regarding corruption at FIFA, Blatter said he’s heard nothing.

“Direct contact? No,” Blatter said. “They have asked the Swiss authorities to make some questions but I haven’t been questioned by neither one or the other organization so far.”

The Swiss official also denied any wrongdoing in a payment with former UEFA President Michel Platini — FIFA’s ethics committee has already banned Platini and Blatter for eight years each but they have gone to the the Court of Arbitration for Sports to appeal the ban — and being part of Jack Warner’s broadcast deals as the former FIFA vice-president is currently under arrest after being charged by U.S. authorities.

Blatter didn’t seem too willing to head to the U.S. anytime soon to answer any questions Lynch and the FBI may have.

“I am willing to cooperate with all the investigators, be it in the United States or here,” Blatter said. “But they cannot make an investigation here. I don’t need to go there but I am available.”

Speaking about his retirement from FIFA, Blatter said he feels relief but will continue to help the organization in legal battles wherever he can.

“For me the word retirement is not the right identification. I am no longer the President of FIFA. It was like a liberation for me and the stone had fallen down. There was no longer the president but I am still alive, I am still in a good mood. I am fighting for me and for my personal reputation. I am also fighting and defending FIFA in these different cases in different courts because they have asked me in some cases for testimony and in other cases for information. I do it because they think I can explain a little bit about what has happened in FIFA.”

Blatter angered by claim he was silent about FIFA corruption

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 21: FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter and his daughter Corinne Blatter attend a press conference as reaction to his banishment for eight years by the FIFA ethics committee at FIFA's former headquarters at Sonnenberg on December 21, 2015 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images)
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BASEL, Switzerland (AP) — Sepp Blatter says it was “not acceptable” to be accused at a public event Friday that he stayed silent while likely knowing that senior FIFA officials were corrupt.

“I am not guilty,” the visibly angry former FIFA president later told reporters at the University of Basel in his native Switzerland.

Blatter had been the key speaker in a two-hour debate with a mostly student audience on problems facing world soccer’s scandal-hit governing body.

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After Blatter again blamed officials in the North and South American soccer bodies for corruption, the session closed with the claim made by former International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo.

Ocampo suggested Blatter had known about bribery which U.S. federal prosecutors revealed last May in a sprawling indictment that rocked FIFA in its presidential election week.

“The real problem with Mr. Blatter is that he had nothing to do with CONCACAF and CONMEBOL, but he knew,” said Ocampo, once a candidate to be FIFA’s lead ethics investigator.

“Even (if) he was not involved, why was he silent?” the Argentine lawyer told the audience of about 400 people, claiming that “probably (Blatter) knew and he decided to stay in silence.”

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Ocampo also said Blatter likely knew – and said nothing – about misconduct implicating long-time FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, who has denied any wrongdoing.

Blatter’s right-hand man since 2007 was fired by FIFA in January, banned for 12 years by the ethics committee and is the subject of criminal proceedings opened last month by Switzerland’s attorney general.

Blatter said he was “very unhappy” with the accusation by Ocampo, who is a visiting lecturer at Harvard University.

“It is not acceptable. It is not acceptable,” Blatter told reporters. “I was very surprised at Mr. Ocampo invited here for this seminar and then to make such an accusation. Perhaps he is a little bit disappointed because he was the first candidate to be the chair of the ethics committee.”

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In 2012, Ocampo was proposed to be FIFA’s first ethics prosecutor by a FIFA advisory group led by Swiss law professor Mark Pieth, who organized Friday’s event.

Ocampo’s appointment was blocked, reportedly due to the influence of then-FIFA senior vice president Julio Grondona of Argentina, who died in 2014 and has since been linked to the bribery conspiracy. Instead, FIFA picked Michael Garcia, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Blatter was forced out after more than 17 years as FIFA president by the scandal. He announced his resignation plans last June, days after the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed an indictment alleging a sprawling bribery and money laundering conspiracy implicating international soccer leaders.

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In a widening investigation by American and Swiss federal prosecutors, Blatter was suspended from duty and then banned by the ethics committee after Swiss prosecutors opened criminal proceedings against him for suspected criminal mismanagement.

Blatter is currently awaiting a hearing date at the Court of Arbitration for Sport to appeal against a six-year ban by FIFA.

“I think it will be the beginning of May but I don’t know,” the 80-year-old Blatter said Friday.