Report: South African bid official says $10 mil bribe was for “development fund”

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A report from South African news outlet The Sunday Independent has claimed that South African bid chief and current South African Football Association president Danny Jordaan (pictured) confirmed to them that a $10 million payment was indeed paid indirectly from the South African federation to Jack Warner, but denies the payment was a bribe.

The U.S. Justice Department in its indictment report stated that in 2008, four years after the bid was awarded, a $10 million bribe was sent via the South African bid committee to Jack Warner in exchange for “the Caribbean Football Union to ‘support the African diaspora.’”

According to the Sunday Independent report, Jordaan claimed that the payment was made, but says it was sent to the then-CONCACAF president as “South Africa’s contribution towards their football development fund.” The report does not directly quote Jordaan making these claims, but seems to paraphrase what they claim he said.

“I haven’t paid a bribe or taken a bribe from anybody in my life,” Jordaan is quoted as saying in the report. “We don’t know who is mentioned there [in the indictment].”

The report states that Jordaan said the South African government could not come up with the funds when it was time to pay, so FIFA instead deducted the $10 million as part of their World Cup payout after the tournament, and wired it themselves to Warner. Such a transfer from FIFA funds would, according to regulations, have to be approved by the finance director and the general secretary.

Jordaan also denied authorizing the 2008 payment himself, saying he concluded his business with FIFA at the time the bid was awarded in 2004, and quoted as saying he was unable to do so due to restrictions. “During my tenure as CEO at the 2010 World Cup Organizing Committee, I was bound by regulations set out in the Schedule of Delegated Authority (Soda). Under that authority, I could authorize payments of a maximum of R1 million [currently $82,200].”

Page 85 of the Department of Justice report states that “Soon after receiving these wire transfers, [Warner] caused a substantial portion of the funds to be diverted for his personal use.”

Jordaan was just sworn in as the new Executive Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay on May 28. On that same day, South African Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula denied any payment was made.