Blatter, Mbeki 'discussed' $10 mln World Cup deal: report

FIFA president Sepp Blatter and the then South African president Thabo Mbeki discussed the $10-million that ended up in the hands of FIFA corrupt officials, according to a 2007 email published on Sunday by a South African paper.

South Africa’s Sunday Times published an email dated December 7, 2007, from FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, asking when the money would be transferred.

The email was addressed to South Africa’s then deputy minister of finance, Jabu Moleketi.  “I would like to know when the transfer can be done,” Valcke said without mentioning the $10 million, but referring to an earlier letter.

“This is based on discussion (sic) between FIFA and the South African government and also between our President (Blatter) and ... President Mbeki,” said Valcke in the email.

Mbeki’s spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga refused to comment on whether there had been a discussion between the ex president and Blatter.  Instead he referred AFP to a statement the former president issued on May 29 refuting the bribery allegations.  “Nothing has changed after that statement. The position of former president Mbeki is one that is contained in that statement,” Ratshitanga told AFP.

In the statement last month, Mbeki had said he was unaware of “anybody who solicited a bribe from the government for the purpose of our country being awarded the right to host the World Cup.”  South African media reports last week said Mbeki and former foreign minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is now the chairwoman of the African Union Commission, had approved the payment which they believed was for a legitimate football development project in the Caribbean.

The South African payment in 2008 was made through FIFA and went to an account controlled by Jack Warner, a disgraced former FIFA vice president from the Caribbean wanted by US authorities for accepting bribes.

But US investigators believe the payment was a bribe to buy votes for its World Cup bid.

Blatter is stepping down from his job in the wake of the scandal.

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