Brazilian Police Questions FIFA Member About Alleged Links To Criminal Organization
Police briefly detained one of Brazilian football's most-powerful men on Monday after searching his home in what it said "was an investigation into criminal organisations practising extortion, corruption and financial crimes," according to Andrew Downie of REUTERS. Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) VP Marco Polo del Nero, and a member of FIFA's exec committee, were questioned as part of a massive police operation in which authorities served 87 search warrants and made 33 arrests in six Brazilian states. Police did not say if Del Nero "would be the subject of any criminal charges and declined to provide any details on his questioning." However, "the pre-dawn raid of his home in São Paulo was an embarrassment to senior FIFA officials, many of whom are in Brazil this week for a Soccerex trade fair and Saturday's Confederations Cup draw." In an interview with local news agency UOL Esporte, Del Nero said that he was "questioned for about 20 minutes about personal affairs that are unrelated" to his football activities. Del Nero said, "I'm totally at ease. This is a personal matter that I cannot discuss publicly...It will not affect anything" (REUTERS, 11/26).
NO COMMENT: BLOOMBERG's Raymond Colitt reported FIFA General Secretary Jérôme Valcke told reporters in Rio de Janeiro that the police questioning of Del Nero "was an internal Brazilian issue he would not comment on." Police are "investigating Del Nero’s alleged links to a criminal organization it says engaged in illegal spying and extortion of politicians suspected of fraud in public tenders" (BLOOMBERG, 11/26).