(WFI) FIFA whistleblower Chuck Blazer reportedly accrued over 26 million American Express rewards points during his time as a FIFA exec.
The man at the center of the latest corruption scandal for FIFA spared no expenses while working for the football federation for 17 years. Now, the results of his bon vivant lifestyle are coming back to bite him.
During his 17 years as a FIFA executive committee member, Blazer helped spread the influence of football, particularly to the United States. That expansion, however, came at the expense of the integrity of the game.
In 2011, Blazer was stopped in New York by FBI and IRS agents who were investigating Blazer for failing to file income taxes for several years. The agents told Blazer at the time he could cooperate or be taken into custody.
Blazer chose cooperation with the authorities, launching the investigation into FIFA regarding speculated corruption by FIFA officials. The indictment that has surfaced as a result of this investigation was released by authorities last Wednesday, followed by the arrest of several of the indicted FIFA officials.
The indictment accuses FIFA officials and sports marketing companies of conspiring to sell World Cup host selection votes as well as lucrative television marketing and broadcasting deals that resulted in kickbacks for the officials who penned them.
These accusations against FIFA officials were fueled largely in part by a testimony given by Blazer in November 2013 that was released by the government Wednesday. In his testimony, Blazer pleads guilty to ten counts of racketeering, money laundering and tax evasion as well as implicating other FIFA executives received bribes in exchange for host selection votes for the 2010 World Cup.
After news broke of Blazer’s FIFA betrayal, reports began to surface about Blazer’s personal life during the time the alleged corruption Blazer plead guilty to was happening. The findings reveal a man with as many quirks as rewards points.
Blazer used money received from his lucrative television contracts and bribery kickbacks to fuel a habit of excessive spending, best illustrated by his $6,000 per month rent on a luxury apartment in Trump Tower – solely for the use of his cats and adjacent to his $18,000 a month apartment in the building.
His cats were not Blazer’s only pets. Blazer could often be found traveling with his shoulder companion, a macaw named Max. The FIFA executive also owned two other parrots.
Photos of Max and Blazer can be found on Blazer’s blog, a page detailing his adventures around the world and encounters with friends and celebrities, including Miss Universe 2011. The blog also features photos of Blazer donning a pirate outfit, wearing a Santa costume and smiling with foreign dignitaries such as Vladimir Putin and Nelson Mandela.
The blog provides a glimpse into the extensive travel of Blazer during his time as a FIFA exec. It also provides a look into how a man can earn over 26 million rewards points on a credit card.
Blazer took numerous first-class, round-trip flights between Europe, the United States and the Caribbean, racking up this abundance of rewards points. The 26 million points would be equivalent to 208 of those first-class, round-trip flights, each costing approximately $9,000.
The American Express rewards program offers a variety of ways for customers to redeem their points, including technology products, travel destinations, household items, toys and even financial rewards.
Around the Rings has some suggestions on ways Blazer could use these points in line with his excessive spending habits. Our top three: 170 iPhone 6’s, 77 fifty-inch LED televisions – or possibly the favorite – 1,000 years of waivers on his AmEx annual fee.
Unfortunately for Blazer, these hypothetical rewards will never come to fruition as he faces up to 15 years in prison and will be required to relinquish more assets after he receives sentencing for his guilty plea.
By INSIDER editor Kevin Nutley
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