Russia used a Picasso painting in bribe for World Cup

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
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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)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JULY 11: A general view of the Russia 2018 World Cup Rio Reception Evening at the Copacabana Palace Hotel on July 11, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images)

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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