Russia used a Picasso painting in bribe for World Cup

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Russia Used A Picasso Painting In Bribe For World Cup


Soccer's international governing body FIFA has long been accused of corruption. But, now a British investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 Russia and Qatar World Cup games reports that officials were bribed-with priceless art.

A parliamentary committee found that Russia gifted a Picasso painting to the president of the Union of European Football Associations and FIFA executive member Michel Platini in exchange for his support of its bid. Meanwhile, voting member Michel D'Hooghe received a landscape painting that he called "absolutely ugly."

The paintings were part of Russia's national art collection, pulled from vaults in St. Petersburg or from the Kremlin archives.

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Russia used a Picasso painting in bribe for World Cup
Police officers patrol before a friendly soccer match of Spartak soccer club veterans, in front of the Otkrytie Arena new stadium of Spartak Moscow soccer club in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. A newly-built stadium of Spartak soccer club is one of the twelve stadiums in eleven Russian cities selected to host the 2018 World Cup. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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The official logo for the 2018 FIFA World Cup is presented on the facade of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014. FIFA President Sepp Blatter has revealed the logo for the 2018 World Cup in Russia - with the help of a crew of cosmonauts. The logo depicts the World Cup trophy in red and blue, colors from the Russian flag, with gold trim. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, FIFA President Sepp Blatter, center, and Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko attend a meeting on preparation for the 2018 World Cup in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014. Putin and Blatter on Tuesday visited the Luzhniki Stadium which is under reconstruction for the final of the 2018 World Cup. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, third left, and FIFA President Sepp Blatter, fourth left, listen to Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, second left, as they stand at a model of the Luzhniki Stadium after reconstruction, in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014. Putin and Blatter visited the Luzhniki Stadium which is under reconstruction for the final of the 2018 World Cup. At left is Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)
A general view of the Otkrytie Arena, new stadium of Spartak Moscow soccer club in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. A newly-built stadium of Spartak soccer club is one of the twelve stadiums in eleven Russian cities selected to host the 2018 World Cup. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Young soccer players warm up before a friendly soccer match of Spartak soccer club veterans, in the Otkrytie Arena new stadium of Spartak Moscow soccer club in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. A newly-built stadium of Spartak soccer club is one of the twelve stadiums in eleven Russian cities selected to host the 2018 World Cup. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
A Spartacus statue, right, is installed at the Otkrytie Arena new stadium of Spartak Moscow soccer club in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. A newly-built stadium of Spartak soccer club is one of the twelve stadiums in eleven Russian cities selected to host the 2018 World Cup. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez, offer a toast during an official dinner at Government Palace, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Saturday, July 12, 2014. Putin is in a one-day official visit to Argentina and will next stop in Brazil for a presidential summit of the BRICS group of nations in Fortaleza. He was also to attend the final World Cup match in a ceremonial handover of host duties for soccer's marquee tournament, which takes place in Russia in 2018. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)
A view of the Luzhniki Stadium which will host the final of the 2018 World Cup in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. Russia is avoiding Brazil's mistakes. That was the message as FIFA inspectors completed their tour of the arenas Russia is building for the 2018 World Cup - no delays here. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and FIFA President Sepp Blatter meet in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014. Putin and Blatter on Tuesday visited the Luzhniki Stadium which is under reconstruction for the final of the 2018 World Cup. The sign reads Russia-2018 Local Organizing Committee. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin arrives to Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, July 14, 2014. Putin is in Brazil to attend a presidential summit of the BRICS group of nations. He was in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday for the World Cup final and ceremonial handover of host duties for soccer's marquee tournament, which next takes place in Russia in 2018. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 21: FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke (L) and Russia's sport minister Vitaly Mutko (R) at a meeting of FIFA officials with representatives of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Organising Committee, in Sochi, Russia, on November 21, 2014. (Photo by Artur Lebedev/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 28: Moscow's Mayor Sergei Sobyanin (3d L), Russian President Vladimir Putin (C), FIFA President Josef S. Blatter (R) observe a reconstruction site of the Luzhniki stadium on October 28, 2014 in Moscow, Russia. The Luzhniki stadium will be one of the venues of the 2018 The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. (Photo by Dmitry Azarov/Kommersant Photo via Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 28: Russian President Vladimir Putin observes a reconstruction site of the Luzhniki stadium on October 28, 2014 in Moscow, Russia. The Luzhniki stadium is to become one of the venues of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)
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The House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee said the information in the report comes from a"high-level intelligence gathering and and surveillance on the other countries bidding to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups."

Russia denied the claims and said that it has only ever "behaved professionally" in the bidding process. In aNovember report, FIFA cleared Russia and Qatar of corruption in the bidding process, then later announced a criminal complaint in Swiss court.

"...we are not in a position to comment on on-going proceedings nor on names and other information circulated in the media, particularly as we do not know against which individuals and for what reasons investigations are in process nor do we know the details of what is actually in the investigation reports," FIFA told CNN in a statement.

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