International soccer is forever tainted as sordid revelations emerge about the politics behind hosting a formerly-prestigious World Cup event. Tournaments were awarded on nothing but bribes, which in the case of South Africa's 2010 cup meant more than $10 million in bribes.
The money was handed over in a briefcase stuffed with $10 000 stacks of banknotes in Paris, a U.S. indictment detailed on Wednesday.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch said executives from soccer's governing body FIFA required bribes to vote for South Africa to become the first African nation to host the tournament.
Former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, 72, took a "substantial portion" of those funds for his personal use.
The document details a lengthy courtship in which Warner and his family cultivated ties with South African soccer officials in the early 2000s and strengthened them during the nation's failed bid to host the World Cup in 2006.
"At one point," the indictment stated, Warner ordered an associate to fly to Paris and "accept a briefcase containing bundles of US currency in $10 000 stacks in a hotel room" from a high-ranking South African bid committee member.
The associate, identified in the indictment as co-conspirator 14, boarded a return flight within hours, carrying the briefcase with him back to Trinidad and Tobago and handed it to Warner.
The host countries were unable to make the payment from government funds so $10 million was sent from FIFA using funds that would otherwise have gone from FIFA to South Africa.
A FIFA executive wired payments totaling $10 million in January and March 2008 from a FIFA account in Switzerland through New York to accounts controlled by Warner, the indictment alleges.
"Soon after receiving these wire transfers, the defendant Jack Warner caused a substantial portion of the funds to be diverted for his personal use," the indictment details.
Warner, a Trinidad and Tobago citizen, left FIFA in 2011 after being suspended by an ethics committee.