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Barcelona's Lionel Messi runs with the ball during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Barcelona and Real Madrid, dubbed 'el clasico', at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, April 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

FIFA will make its own investigation into corruption

FIFA’s independent ethics committee has launched an investigation into one of its own members over allegations related to the ‘Panama Papers’ leak.

Uruguayan lawyer Juan Pedro Damiani is the subject of the investigation which will look at alleged links between him and his compatriot Eugenio Figueredo, the former FIFA vice-president who was arrested last year on corruption charges by the United States Department of Justice.

A FIFA statement said: “We confirm that on March 19 the investigatory chamber of the independent ethics committee was informed by the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber, Hans-Joachim Eckert, about becoming recently aware of a business relationship between the member of the adjudicatory chamber Juan Pedro Damiani, and Eugenio Figueredo. After receiving the information Dr Cornel Borbely, chairman of the investigatory chamber of the ethics committee, has immediately opened a preliminary investigation to review the allegations in question. Dr Borbely is currently looking into said allegations in order to determine if there is a breach against the FIFA code of ethics and decide any further measures”.

Figueredo, a former president of the South American confederation CONMEBOL, was one of the seven officials from FIFA, football’s world governing body, who were arrested at the request of US authorities in a dawn raid in Zurich in May 2015.

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, and his father own a shell company, Mega Star Enterprises, previously unknown to Spanish investigators probing the Barcelona forward’s tax affairs. Both Messi and his father Jorge Horácio Messi are currently on trial in Spain for tax evasion. That particular case focuses on image rights issues in companies with no business activity in Uruguay and Belize.The cases is ongoing.

Suspended UEFA chief Michel Platini, who is serving a six-year ban from football for over a $2 million payment from FIFA president Sepp Blatter, turned to Mossack Fonseca to help him administer an offshore company created in Panama in 2007.

 

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