Kirkland partner and judge hired to tackle Fifa corruption allegations

Football’s world governing organisation Fifa has instructed Kirkland & Ellis partner Michael Garcia to investigate allegations of corruption alongside German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert.

The move, which was announced at a news conference yesterday, sees the duo co-chair Fifa’s new two-chamber ethics body, with Garcia investigating corruption and Eckert leading the judicial chamber.

Garcia, who has been at the New York office of Kirkland & Ellis since 2009, has prosecuted a number of high-profile cases, including the 1993 terrorist bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York and the 1998 bombing of US embassies in East Africa. His expertise in national security and anti-terrorism led to a role at the US Department of Homeland Security prior to his appointment as United States Attorney between 2005 and 2008.

The security specialist has been asked to re-examine the ISL bribery case as one of the first tasks for the seven-person investigatory chamber. The alleged claims accuse former Fifa president Joao Havelange and former executive Ricardo Teixeira of taking multi-million pound bribes from Fifa’s former marketing partner ISL.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who has been pressurised to revamp the organisation following a string of corruption scandals in the last 18 months, tweeted yesterday: “On my request, ISL file will be given to the new Ethics Committee. ISL is settled legally – now it will be settled also morally.”

Eckert has served in the judicial system for the last 30 years and has been presiding judge of the Munich penal court since 2003. As head of the adjudicatory chamber of the ethics committee he will be responsible for judging cases and handing out sanctions.

Kirkland did not respond to requests for comment.

The committees will be made up as follows:
Appointment of the following persons as members of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee until the 63rd Fifa Congress in 2013:
Chairman: Michael Garcia
Robert Torres (Guam)
Les Murray (Australia)
Ronald Jones (Barbados)
Jorge Iván Palacio (Colombia)
Noël Le Graët (France)
Ahmed Ould Abderrahmane (Mauritania)

Appointment of the following persons as members of the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee until the 63rd Fifa Congress in 2013:
Chairman: Hans-Joachim Eckert
Petrus Damaseb (Namibia)
Juan Pedro Damiani (Uruguay)
Burton K. Haimes (USA)
Abdoulaye Mokhtar Diop (Senegal)
Jack Kariko (Papua New Guinea)
Yngve Hallén (Norway)
Thi My Dung Nguyen (Vietnam)