A 2007 email shows that FIFA President Sepp Blatter and then-South African President Thabo Mbeki held "discussions" over $10 million which ultimately went to allegedly corrupt football executives as payback for supporting the country's World Cup bid, a newspaper has claimed.
South Africa's Sunday Times reported that the email from FIFA Secretary-General Jerome Valcke to the South African government asked when the $10 million would be transferred.
The newspaper said that in the email, which was not published, Valcke wrote that the $10 million was "based on discussions between FIFA and the South African government, and also between our President [Blatter] and President Thabo Mbeki."
American investigators alleged in their indictment into corruption in world football that the $10 million went to Jack Warner, who is currently under arrest, as payback for him and two other senior FIFA executives for voting for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup.
It was wired from FIFA to accounts controlled by Warner in three payments in early 2008, the US Department of Justice said.
FIFA and the South African government have said it was money given legitimately by South Africa through FIFA to help football development in Warner's Caribbean region. Mbeki's office denied any involvement in bribes in a statement when the FIFA corruption scandal broke.
FIFA did not immediately respond to a written request from the AP news agency for comment on the purported 2007 email from Valcke.
Mbeki's spokesman, Mukoni Ratshitanga, referred the AP to the earlier statement denying the South African government's involvement in any bribes when Mbeki was president.
Money went to Warner
Described as money for football development, the South African cash ended up going directly to former Warner for Trinidad and Tobago and Chuck Blazer from the US, both then members of FIFA's executive committee, according to the Department of Justice.
Blazer has admitted to receiving bribes in connection with the 2004 vote that resulted in South Africa becoming the first African nation to host the World Cup.
Warner is one of 14 football and marketing officials indicted and under arrest on corruption charges, which include racketeering, bribery and money laundering.
Blatter announced he was quitting as FIFA president last week with the world football body rocked by the biggest scandal in its 111-year history. The 79-year-old Blatter has not been specifically implicated in the Justice Department investigation.
South Africa won the World Cup by beating Morocco 14-10 in a vote of FIFA's ruling panel of executives in Zurich in 2004.
The Department of Justice alleges that vote was completely corrupted, with Warner, Blazer and an unnamed senior South American FIFA official agreeing to take bribes to back South Africa.