London - Britain's serious fraud office (SFO) said Tuesday that it was looking into potential money-laundering offences relating to the award of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups.
"We are still examining issues around possible money-laundering," SFO director David Green, was quoted by the Guardian as telling a parliamentary select committee. "There are several aspects to it and some new information has come to us quite recently."
The awards to Russia (2018 World Cup) and Qatar (2022) were made in 2010. Green said the United Kingdom bribery act could not be used in relation to the bidding process.
Money-laundering could be an offence though if cash has passed through the UK.
Green said one payment being investigated was $333,000 payment made by the Australian 2022 bid committee to then now banned former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner.
"I cannot confirm the assertion that money went through London - it certainly started off in Sydney and appears to have ended up in Trinidad," Green was quoted as saying. "It could be money-laundering, yes. Whether the money came through London is important."