Johannesburg - The United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has not sent any request for mutual legal assistance from the justice department in its investigation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup scandal, the department said on Wednesday.
"In June 2015, the USA’s legal attaché merely sent a copy of their indictment with a covering letter wherein they were bringing to our attention the contents thereof and looking forward to a continued partnership with our department as we have a bilateral [agreement] on such matters," spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said in a statement.
"This indictment had been made public and was easily available on the internet for public consumption. This was after the USA attorney general held a press conference on the matter.
"There is therefore no request for mutual legal assistance or new communication between our department as the central authority and the legal attaché in respect of this matter."
It was reported earlier that the FBI made contact with South Africa about its investigation into corruption within FIFA.
In a written parliamentary reply, Justice Minister Michael Masutha said he and his department had received correspondence from the legal attaché of the FBI.
A copy of the indictment relating to the FIFA matter was attached, he said.
“The purpose of the letter was to bring the contents of the indictment under the attention of the department,” said Masutha.
The letter also said the FBI was “looking forward to the continued partnership” between itself, the American Department of Justice and the SA Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.
A “formal request for assistance” had not yet been received from the FBI, he said.
“I noted the contents of the memorandum, including the indictment, and forwarded copies of the indictment to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Corruption, the Minister of Sport and Recreation, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the Chairperson of the Anti-Corruption Task Team,” said Masutha.
South Africa's involvement in the corruption scandal revolves around an alleged $10m bribe to secure the rights to host the 2010 World Cup. The payment was made to the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf).
According to the FBI, former FIFA vice president Jack Warner used portions of these payments for his private use. He has been extradited from Trinidad to face corruption charges in the US.
The South African government insists that the payment was not a bribe, but a donation to the so-called African Diaspora Legacy Fund.
In its statement on Wednesday night the department did not mention which South Africans were under investigation for the alleged bribe.