A new leaked letter appears to show South African authorities seeking an indirect route for the transfer of $10m (£6.5m) to FIFA, BBC reports. The letter carried by South African media was purportedly written by then SA FA president Danny Jordaan three weeks before the first amount was paid. US prosecutors say the money was a bribe to FIFA officials to help secure South Africa’s 2010 World Cup bid. South Africa says it was a legitimate payment to fund Caribbean football. The $10m payment is a key plank in the wide-ranging US criminal inquiry that has engulfed world football’s governing body. Seven top FIFA officials, including two vice-presidents were arrested last week in Switzerland as they awaited FIFA’s congress. They were among 14 new indictments in the US investigation, which alleges they accepted bribes and kickbacks estimated at more than $150m over a 24-year period. Four other people were charged earlier. One of them, ex-FIFA official Chuck Blazer, has pleaded guilty in the US to taking bribes related to South Africa’s bid.
The letter is signed by Mr Jordaan and addressed to FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke. Mr Jordaan says Deputy Finance Minister Jabu Moleketi recommended that the money be paid to FIFA but that Minister of Foreign Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said it should instead “be paid over to the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa”. South Africa’s Mail & Guardian quoted Mr Moleketi as saying the letter was a “fabrication” and he denied having “a conversation of that nature” with Mr Jordaan. US prosecutors say a senior South African official travelled to Paris to hand over cash in $10,000 stacks – in a hotel room, to an unnamed person working for Jack Warner, the former FIFA vice-president and head of the North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF). South Africa’s Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Wednesday that payments related to the World Cup had been “above board”, and no bribes had been paid. The money was to finance a “Diaspora Legacy Programme” to support football among the African diaspora in the Caribbean. South Africa was proud to have hosted Africa’s first World Cup, and would not allow itself to be caught in a battle between the US and FIFA, Mr Mbalula said. Mr Valcke has denied any wrongdoing in the matter. US prosecutors on Wednesday released a transcript of Mr Blazer’s guilty pleas. Mr Blazer says: “Beginning in or around 2004 and continuing through 2011, I and others on the FIFA executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa as the host nation for the 2010 World Cup.” In addition to the US investigation it was announced on Thursday that an elite police unit in South Africa is to launch a preliminary inquiry into allegations that officials paid bribes over the 2010 World Cup bid.