Tomaž Vesel, who was appointed chairman of the independent Audit and Compliance Committee at FIFA in 2016, turned a blind eye when the FIFA President Gianni Infantino caused business damage to the world football association. In one case, the problem in question was an extremely expensive “emergency” flight from Latin America to Europe, due to an alleged meeting with the UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin, which did not actually happen at all, because Čeferin was in Armenia on business at the time. As is already known, Vesel and Čeferin are close colleagues, who navigated through the world of Slovenian football together, before bringing their careers to a higher level. They were partners in a great fraud. And Vesel is revising it all.
On Wednesday, the World Football Association (FIFA) began working with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, because of certain manipulations with the matches. FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee could play a central role in all of this. The extraordinary federal prosecutor Stefan Keller revealed how important a control element like this might be, especially as far as the top officials are concerned. This is a man who has been investigating the FIFA President Gianni Infantino in Switzerland since autumn, in connection with obstructing court proceedings and is currently also trying to initiate another procedure against the FIFA President. This tie, there are clear signs of unfair business within FIFA, and another extraordinary state prosecutor is expected to deal with the new case. The Swiss extraordinary prosecutor Keller wrote in a press release on Thursday, that in connection with the trip on the private plane, he had completed the investigation of various criminal charges against Infantino, and that there were no signs of criminal conduct by the FIFA President, sueddeutsche reported.
After the hearing and investigation, it appears that a new criminal investigation will have to be initiated, for negligent management of the company. With this, Keller intends to pass on the continuation of the investigation of the suspicion of a crime in the Infantino case to others, as he is not responsible for opening such criminal proceedings. He is essentially investigating three of Infantino’s meetings with the former federal prosecutor Michael Lauber, that were not recorded. It seems that there has been a sharing of business secrets and encouragement to do so.
The new allegations regarding the criminal activities of the FIFA leader refer to the procedure published by the Association in May. Namely, Infantino approved the use of a private jet for a flight home from a business trip in April 2017, from Surinama to Geneva. This was a change from the planned, regular flight, to a reservation that cost over 200 thousand dollars. Mattias Grafström, Infantino’s trusted assistant, contacted Tomaž Vesel, President of FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee.
Grafström tried to justify the matter and said that the flight was the result of the FIFA President’s planned meeting with the UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin. According to Grafström, Infantino had to return to Geneva, Switzerland, due to the aforementioned emergency meeting, which was supposedly scheduled for the 12th of April at 2 p.m. in Nyon, even though Čeferin was actually on a business trip to Armenia that day, so this “planned” meeting of the two Presidents was actually mission impossible. The fact that Čeferin was actually located in the Caucasian country could be confirmed both by the information provided on the UEFA website, as well as the information on the website of the Armenian Football Association. FIFA has never denied this obvious deception of its President, but still claims that the flight was “compliant.” The head of the Ethics Committee, Claudia Maria Rojas, came to this conclusion this summer. However, the Colombian never explained how she tackled this case and how she tried to solve the riddle of the obvious lie, documented by e-mail. In addition, FIFA’s main investigator, who is based in Cali and does not speak any of FIFA’s three official languages – German, English or French, did not even question all of those involved.
Vesel and Čeferin navigated the world of Slovenian football together
Head of the Compliance Committee, Vesel, also treated Infantion controversially in other cases, which has been revealed by the e-mail correspondence from Autumn of 2016. This case also involved Infantino’s private flight – namely, to Russia. Vesel did agree to it, but his decision was not satisfactory to the FIFA leaders. Grafström sent Vesel a document, drawn up by a lawyer close to Infantino, with an order to include him in his verdict. And Vesel obediently followed suit. Both Vesel and Rojas each earn up to 300 thousand dollars a year from the DIDA funds, with their service that they are supposed to perform completely independently. Such arbitrary decisions about the boss, however, bring questions about the independence of the operation and business loyalty. The fact is that Keller also noticed this after months of investigation, and this also puts the Audit and Compliance Committee in question. The former President of the Deutscher Fußball-Bund Theo Zwanziger, who recently called for the questioning of a key witness in another ethical hearing and was falsely told by FIFA’s guardians of virtue that the witness had already died, announced on Wednesday: “With the decision of the extraordinary federal prosecutor, FIFA’s Ethics Committee finally lost its credibility. These people need to resign.” FIFA dismissed Keller’s statements as “malicious and defamatory” and said that this points to his “extreme bias.”
According to the SIOL web portal, four years ago, the German media wrote about the suspiciously controversial connections between the President of the Court of Audit Tomaž Vesel and President of the European Football Association – UEFA, Aleksander Čeferin, at length. As is already known, Vesel came to the prominent position in the International Football Association – FIFA four years ago, as he was appointed Chairman of FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee. The German media reported that Vesel was the deputy head of the Youth Commission at the Football Association of Slovenia (Nogometna zveza Slovenije – NZS), which was being led by Aleksander Čeferin at the time. This puts the independence of Vesel’s position in FIFA in question, in regard to Čeferin.