The Inside Story behind the FIFA Scandal
American Huckster is the first inside account of the international soccer scandal that rocked the world. At the heart of the corruption is the incredible story of a larger-than-life New York soccer dad who illegally raked in millions at the top of the most powerful and dirtiest sports organization on the planet, and became an FBI whistleblower to save his own skin.
Chuck Blazer was a middle-class Jewish kid from Queens who rose from volunteer positions in local youth soccer leagues to the heights of FIFA, becoming a jet-setting buccaneer—and the most notorious informant in sports history. For years, Chuck Blazer skimmed millions of dollars from sports marketing companies, supplicants from nations seeking to host the World Cup, and from FIFA and CONCACAF, the regional soccer association in charge of North and Central America and the Caribbean. He lived expense free on CONCACAF’s dime in a luxury apartment in Trump Tower, and stashed his money in offshore accounts and in real estate holdings that included two South Beach condos, and a hideaway in the Bahamas. Instantly recognizable with his unruly mass of salt-and-pepper hair and matching beard—and a rotating crop of arm candy—Blazer was one of the most flamboyant figures in the glitzy social and political circles of international soccer. He schemed with one-time best friend and crook-of-crooks Jack Warner, his putative boss at CONCACAF, and hobnobbed with Vladimir Putin, the Queen of England, Nelson Mandela and Sepp Blatter, FIFA’s long-time godfather.
But Blazer turned on his cronies in a heartbeat when the Feds finally nabbed him on fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion. In exchange for immunity, Blazer agreed to use a microphone implanted in his keychain to entrap his larcenous band of brothers—leading to the historic indictment of FIFA officials for racketeering and bribery.
We’ve got the goods on Blazer with intriguing details from sources in U.S. law enforcement as well from within his intimate circle to tell the story of a massive scandal laid bare by a mesmerizing American huckster.
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" The mystery is why nobody guessed, nobody said, “I don’t believe it. There’s something crooked here.” For 20 years Chuck just got richer and richer. Good meal at the best restaurant in town? Let’s go again tomorrow night. Nice flat in the Bahamas? Hey, let’s get two. That would be Chuck Blazer. Everything had to be super-sized, like him, and he rushed to grab it. From the Trump Tower apartment to holiday homes throughout the Caribbean, Chuck simply charged it. Sepp Blatter, the president of world football, couldn’t care. He had too many other rackets to supervise. But the Feds did. When they took Chuck, in broad daylight, on Fifth Avenue, it took less than an hour for him to agree to wear a wire. From there the biggest corruption story in world sport unraveled. Mary and Teri have done a fabulous job. They've dug deep into documents they shouldn't have seen, talked with people who can’t be named. It's a brilliant, gripping piece of work. "
Somehow, Papenfuss and Thompson accomplish all this with a writing style and spirit that enthralls, rather than depresses. American Huckster would make a great mystery or suspense novel. Unfortunately for the soccer world, it is nonfiction."
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