Whistleblower felt "betrayed and denigrated for being courageous enough to come forward with critical information."
Phaedra Almajid, the Qatar whistleblower identified in the FIFA World Cup scandal inquiry, has registered a formal ethics complaint against judge Hans-Joachim Eckert.
Almajid, who worked for the Qatar 2018 bid team before being dismissed early in 2010, is complaining that a promise of confidentiality from ethics investigator Michael Garcia was betrayed by Eckert.
Hence she felt “betrayed and denigrated for being courageous enough to come forward with critical information.”
Almajid has submitted her complaint to Garcia who is already at loggerheads with Eckert over what the United States lawyer claimed were “erroneous” statements of fact and conclusions in the German judge’s interim summary, published last week.
Garcia had spent two years delving into the murky events surrounding the awards of the World Cup to Russia in 2018 and to Qatar in 2022.
He and assistant Cornel Borbely produced a 420-page report which Eckert boiled down to a 42-page summary clearing all the bid nations, including Russia and Qatar, of any and all significant allegations of corruption.
The summary included two sections in which Eckert referred to the evidence of bid whistleblowers, subsequently identified by the media as Australian Bonita Mersiades and the Qatar bid’s Almajid.
The complaint from Almajid said that she was promised confidentiality in return for providing Garcia with documents, data and recordings concerning the conduct of the Qatar bid.
She added: “My co-operation was based on your promise of confidentiality. You have said that, ‘in the course of any investigation, [you are] bound by confidentiality,’ and ‘also want to protect anyone who would wish to come to me in good faith.'”
The issue of confidentiality has been offered as the central reason for FIFA’s inability to publish the Garcia report in full. That was reiterated in a recent press conference by FIFA legal adviser Marco Villiger.
Almajid, while describing Eckert’s summation of her evidence as “a crude, cynical and fundamentally erroneous description of me” added that “it directly breached FIFA’s assurances of my confidentiality.”
Eckert did not name her directly but referred to her public statements three years ago which were easily checked and linked by the German and British media.
Twisting the knife further, Almajid added: “As if identifying me were not enough, Herr Eckert’s report falsely discredits me in order to support his indefensible conclusion that the December 2010 bidding was wholly acceptable.”
Hence her complaint to Garcia that Eckert’s report violated Article 16.1 of FIFA’s Code of Ethics.
This states: “Information of a confidential nature divulged to persons bound by this Code while performing their duties shall be treated as confidential or secret by them as an expression of loyalty, if the information is given with the understanding or communication of confidentiality and is consistent with the FIFA principles.”