Anti-Bribery Expert Says Corruption at FIFA Entrenched for Decades


Sarah Hofmann
ACFE Public Relations Specialist

Hundreds of anti-fraud professionals from Europe will gather in Brussels, March 20-22 for the 2016 ACFE European Fraud Conference, where they will hear from president and founder of TRACE International, Alexandra Wrage. She hopes that she can shed some light on corruption and compliance issues around the world, including those affecting football’s governing body.

As both an anti-corruption expert and a former member of FIFA’s Independent Governance Committee, Wrage believes not much could have prevented the FIFA scandal that continues to unfold. She said, “The problems at FIFA were so widespread and so broadly accepted, that I am not sure anything could have been done to prevent the corruption. The problems, and especially the sense of entitlement, had been entrenched for decades. It’s possible that the corruption could have been stopped earlier if the sponsors, the Swiss government or the enforcement agencies had stepped in sooner. But for years, it seemed that Mr. [Sepp] Blatter and his friends were almost untouchable. They exchanged favors, made secret deals, funded their own extravagant lifestyle … all at the expense of the sport they were meant to protect and promote.”

 Alexandra Wrage, President of TRACE International

Alexandra Wrage, President of TRACE International

At the conference, she will share her thoughts on not only the FIFA scandal, but important issues she sees through her work at TRACE International regarding global anti-bribery standards and the importance of setting the right tone at the top when implementing controls to prevent corruption. Wrage said a common challenge she sees is, “The sense at headquarters that nothing can be done because bribery is simply unavoidable in some countries. I certainly don’t believe this and your local employees won’t thank you for that sort of pessimism. They’re living with corruption every day and the head office should be backing them up, providing tools and training and helping them to avoid extortionate demands.”

She will be joined at the conference by other keynote speakers including award-winning investigative journalist and acclaimed author Anita Raghavan, Chief Commissioner of the Belgian Federal Police Johan Denolf, Head of the Security Division and General Services Division, International Court of Justice Maarten Daman, Attorney Mark Livschitz and Deputy Training Director of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners Liseli Pennings, CFE.

Breakout sessions will include discussions about cybercrime, bitcoin and how linguistic and cultural influences can be used to fight against money laundering. This conference will give attendees an opportunity not only to hone their techniques, but also network and build relationships with other anti-fraud professionals.

Don’t miss your chance to hear from experts on today’s most pressing fraud and corruption issues. Register now for your chance to attend the 2016 ACFE European Fraud Conference in Brussels.