Find out how the Qatar 2020 corruption allegations could lead to criminal prosecutions
For anyone with even a passing interest in football or current affairs, allegations that corruption played a substantial part in the award of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar cannot have gone unnoticed.1
Amid reports that those on FIFA’s executive committee apparently disregarded FIFA’s own assessment2 that hosting the World Cup in Qatar posed a high risk given the dangerously high summer temperatures, the complete absence in Qatar of a professional football culture or the necessary infrastructure to host the event, and of course the most recent revelations about the high threat posed by terrorism to an event held in Qatar, serious questions have been raised about the process by which the World Cup was awarded. The Sunday Times’ allegations3 linking Mohammed bin Hamman, the disgraced Qatari former FIFA executive, to payments from a $5m ‘slush fund’ to football officials in Africa give rise to a very credible suspicion that there is something rotten about Qatar’s successful bid.
For most, these revelations will be a matter of conversational interest but little more. However, for those with a current or prospective commercial interest in the 2022 World Cup might those suspicions lead to criminal liability?
The UK’s Proceeds of Crime Act 20024 is very widely drawn, and creates a number of criminal offences for those who deal with criminal property. There are a number of definitions which require closer examination.
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Neil Swift is a Partner in the business crime department at Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP. He qualified in 1999 and became a Partner in 2010. He has a broad range of experience in the fraud area, advising individual and corporate clients in relation to investigations and prosecutions by all major law enforcement bodies, including in particular the Serious Fraud Office, HM Revenue & Customs, and the Office of Fair Trading (now Competition and Markets Authority).