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FBI probe England's failed World Cup bid after alleged email hacking of USA 2022 members - report

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The FBI has launched an investigation into reported ‘dirty tricks’, following the USA’s failed 2022 World Cup bid, The Telegraph reports.

Members of England’s failed 2018 World Cup bid are said to have been interviewed last month, although they are not believed to be under suspicion.

It is reported that the FBI has ‘substantial evidence’ of outside organisations attempting to hack into the email accounts of members of the USA’s 2022 World Cup bid.

They are believed to be interviewing members of the England World Cup bid to investigate whether they were aware of any corruption during their failed bid.

The FBI’s interest in the investigation is said to derive from alleged bribery payments made to Fifa executive committee member Chuck Blazer.

The American, who has been a committee member since 1996, is said to have received commission payments totalling more than $500,000 (£320,000).

In August, Reuters reported that the payments were being reviewed by a New York-based FBI squad assigned to investigate 'Eurasian organised crime'.

Blazer did not deny the payments, but did say at the time: “All of my transactions have been legally and properly done, in compliance with the various laws of the applicable jurisdictions based on the nature of the transaction.”

It has also been reported that the FBI are investigating the alleged bribery of Mohammed Bin Hammam, who stood against Sepp Blatter for the Fifa presidency.

Bin Hammam was found to have offered $40,000 (£25,000) bribes to three Caribbean football officials, just three weeks before the election.

He has since been banned from Fifa for life, with a further 16 Caribbean football officials being sanctioned for their part in the Trinidad meeting.

Another committee member also under investigation is Worawi Makudi of Thailand.

Makudi is alleged to have used money from Fifa’s GOAL project to build facilities on land owned by him.

Makudi claims he gifted the land to the Thai FA and that there has been no wrongdoing. Documents of the ownership have been sent to Fifa, who shall review the situation before deciding whether Makudi shall be investigated by Fifa’s ethics committee.

Sepp Blatter, who has been head of the organisation for the past 13 years, had planned to publish Swiss court papers that detailed bribes received by Fifa officials from the collapsed sports rights and marketing agency ISL.

Fifa are said to have been keen to publish the documents since the court action against the officials, who have since been named as former Fifa president Joao Havelange and executive committee member Ricardo Teixeira.

However, Fifa have been forced to delay the publication, following legal objections from one of the parties. Despite the delay, Blatter remains fully committed to publishing the documents as soon as possible.

“It was my strong will to make the ISL file fully transparent”, he told reporters.

“I have now been advised that as a result of the objection of a third party to such transparency it will take more time to overcome the respective legal hurdles.

“This does not change my stance at all. I remain fully committed to publishing the files as soon as possible as an important part of my many reform plans for Fifa, which include handling the past as well as preparing the future structure of the organisation.”

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