Washington (AFP) - The corruption scandal that has enveloped the global football body FIFA would not have been possible without banks turning their eyes from illegal payments, the anti-poverty group Jubilee USA charged Thursday.
"This level of corruption was only possible with the complicity of the global banking system," said Jubilee executive director Eric LeCompte.
He pointed out that 26 banks were cited in the US indictment of seven FIFA executives and a number of others over bribery in deciding FIFA business, including football match locations and sponsors.
"The FIFA scandal shines a light on how corruption is protected and supported by US banks," LeCompte said in a statement.
Jubilee said the charges alleged that over $150 million in FIFA bribes flowed through the US financial system.
"But in only one instance did a bank reject a money transfer out of suspicion," it said.
It also pointed to the use of shell companies to transfer tainted funds between banks, and the ease of setting up such shell companies to mask illegal activity
"The United States is currently one of the easiest countries in the world in which to open a shell company without disclosing the company's true owner," Jubilee said.
Jubilee is a religious-backed group that campaigns to end poverty and to support the poor, including through more regulation of the financial system.
"We need stronger transparency laws to ensure that criminals can't move money around the world," LeCompte said.