11.37-million Australian dollars: that’s the cost of paying two shady international lobbyists, Peter Hargitay and Fedor Radmann, to grease Australia’s 2022 World Cup bid for FIFA’s wheels. A couple of days ago, we commented on the revelations coming out in the Australian press about the suspect manner in which their World Cup bid was being made. That piece was on how Australia’s governing body, Football Federation Australia (FFA), and its bid team were taking advantage of FIFA’s lax and inadequate rules on gifts to FIFA Executive Committee members (the 24 of whom will decide on the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in December).
Today, we will look at another of the revelations to have come out in Australia’s press that once again affirms the entire process of World Cup bidding is all about who you can buy to get the tournament. Fair World Cup bidding is as rare as a great William Hill promo code, not impossible but rare enough.
Sadly, it means paying $11.37 million (AUS) to two of world soccer’s least pleasant leeches, Peter Hargitay and Fedor Radmann. As The Age reported:
Two controversial European lobbyists hired to help bring the soccer World Cup to Australia stand to receive up to $11.37 million in fees and bonuses – one-quarter of the taxpayer-funded bid – according to secret Football Federation Australia files.
The files include a spreadsheet that suggests the federal government was not told specific details about how taxpayers’ money was to be spent on the lobbyists and grants to overseas football bodies headed by powerful FIFA officials. [ . . ]
Mr Hargitay is being paid $1.35 million by the FFA and has a success fee of $2.54 million. Mr Radmann’s work for the Australian bid, which the FFA has attempted to keep confidential, will earn him up to $3.49 million via a German consulting firm. He is also entitled to a $3.99 million success fee. As part of a separate contract, the FFA is paying Mr Radmann’s business partner, Andreas Abold, an additional $3 million for World Cup “bid book production and bid advice”. It is unclear if Mr Abold will also receive some of Mr Radmann’s fees.
Ben Buckley, FFA Chief Executive Officer, defended these payments to consultants, claiming they were necessary hires for their expertise in a number of areas related to the bid:
FFA has engaged a number of Australian and international consultants to assist in presenting its bid.
Each consultant was selected based on their expertise and experience in international football and major sporting events. The scope of areas covered by such consultants includes accommodation, bid book design and production, cost planning, economic analysis, engineering, environment, event planning and coordination, financial analysis, government relations, international advocacy, international relations, marketing, project management, security, stadium design and transport.
FFA has provided all information requested by the Government in respect of the engagement of consultants, including services provided and their fees.
The terms of FFA’s commercial arrangements with its staff and consultants are commercial in confidence and FFA does not make this information publicly available.
FFA requires its staff and consultants to abide by codes of conduct and ensure compliance with laws and regulations and relevant policies. The Government Funding Agreement also requires any personnel engaged to work on FFA’s Bid to comply with behaviours set out in a Government-approved code of conduct.
Sounds impressive: cost planning! financial analysis! economic analysis! Wow!
Utter tosh. Thank the lord for Andrew Jennings, because once again, we turn to FIFA’s nemesis investigative journalist for the real reasons why the services of Peter Hargitay and Fedor Radmann are worth millions of dollars to the FFA.
Let’s start with Hargitay, born in Hungary in 1951, fluent in four languages, and with a global track record of dubious doings that stretches back decades. As Andrew Jennings tells us:
In the 1980s Hargitay worked as a media-fixer in Switzerland.
When the Union Carbide company’s chemical factory in Bhopal, India, exploded in 1984, killing 16,000 people, maiming thousands more – and leaving a ghastly legacy of damaged babies – the company called on his special services.
Hargitay masterminded their battle to avoid paying fair compensation. He has boasted of his success on his websites. The people of Bhopal still wait for justice.
Hargitay moved on to work for Marc Rich, the fugitive from American justice, who based himself in Zug, Switzerland. Marc Rich was famous for being America’s biggest-ever tax dodger. He was named as one of America’s Ten Most Wanted.
But Marc Rich committed a greater crime. He made another fortune secretly breaking UN sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa.
He sold the white minority the oil they needed to lubricate their repressive domination of the majority of the population.
Peter Hargitay moved to Jamaica where he operated a shipping business – CEA Lines – around the Caribbean.
In 1995 Jamaican police discovered cocaine hidden on CEA boat the Pilar Del Caribe. Hargitay was sent for trial accused of trafficking – but later acquitted.
There are five more pages on this stuff, with Hargitay arrested by Interpol for fraud, indicted by the US government for cocaine trafficking, returning to Switzerland to do “military and government level surveillance” for his clients and setting up a consultancy network — European Consultancy Network (ECN) — where he delivered to clients “news items and alternative scoops that would divert, detract and destabilise imminent media interest.”
And that’s about when Sepp Blatter needed such services whilst mired in scandal, as he became a special adviser to FIFA’s boss from 2002 to 2007.
He was rewarded richly, with that connection helping him (and his son) land a role as an Executive Producer of the Goal! movie trilogy.
These connections made him extremely valuable, and the Football Association hired Hargitay and his company ECN to consult on its 2018 World Cup bid. But when Lord Triesman joined the FA as Chairman, he dispensed with Hargitay, for reasons that remain murky, though the publicity that surrounded Hargitay and revealed in the Sunday Herald in April 2008 probably played a part:
Last week the Sunday Herald asked the FA to explain Hargitay’s links with the Zurich based “intelligence gathering” agency ABI, which offers clients “covert operation assignments”, a “software expert with hacker-credentials” as well as “military and government- level surveillance” operations. On its website ABI boasts that one key operative is “a Cuban army colonel with a martial arts black belt.” Come to a private meeting and ABI will disclose, “the full extent of services – their implications and advantages”.
The decision by the FA to can Hargitay was risky in FIFA’s elite circles, irking CONCACAF boss Jack Warner, as he told the Mail in June 2008:
Jack Warner, who carries three out of the 24 FIFA votes on the World Cup venue and influences others, has questioned the FA’s wisdom in falling out with his football strategist friend Peter Hargitay. The FA tendered for 2018 consultants after Hargitay’s European Consultancy Networks had prepared the bid campaign policy. Warner said ominously: ‘It’s unfortunate. Peter could have been an asset in many ways. It was not a prudent thing to dispense with ECN. The timing is not good.’
Hargitay moved on to work for Mohamed Bin Hammam, the boss of the Asian Football Confederation, and in 2009 oversaw his election to FIFA’s Executive Committee.
Last October, when it was revealed Hargitay had been hired by the FFA to work on Australia’s World Cup bid, he denied this work was richly rewarding, rejecting the idea England had paid him seven figures and claiming Australia were paying under $134,000 for his services.
”We received a fee of £75,000 ($134,000) plus expenses for the first phase of our work; upon conclusion and delivery of the strategic plan, we received a further £25,000 fee. As for Australia, our contract is less than that.
“After we concluded our work for the England bid, we were approached by several countries, none of which we were interested to work for,” Hargitay added. “We put a proposal to the FFA, which was accepted and ECN and I were asked to join them as consultants.”
We now know that, according to the Age newspaper (and notably lacking a denial by the FFA), Hargitay is being paid $1.35 million for his services, with a bonus of $2.54 million if the bid succeeds.
For his trouble tracking Hargitay, Andrew Jennings recently received a threatening letter from notorious defender of public scourges, the law firm Schillings of London, once employed by corrupt Uzbeki billionaire Alisher Usmanov to threaten and try to close down this and other websites for revealing his past crimes.
Peter Hargitay, ladies and gentlemen, selected by the FFA for a multi-million dollar contract for his “expertise and experience in international football and major sporting events.”
Next time, we will take a look at the other big name consultant hired, Fedor Radmann, whose past is equally suspect and tied to the exploitation of the global game by FIFA and other commercial entities.