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HomeBusinessExclusive: Canadian FIFA VP is richer than you think

Exclusive: Canadian FIFA VP is richer than you think

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Bob Mackin

The FIFA vice-president who heads the North and Central American and Caribbean zone was not only paid more than $2.6 million last year, but he also bought a new $6.6 million mansion in West Vancouver.

British Columbia land title records, obtained by theBreaker, show that insurance executive Victor Montagliani and his secretary wife Tanya bought a posh six-bedroom, seven-bathroom, three-level house late last September. The mortgage is with Scotiabank, CONCACAF’s official bank sponsor. 

Real estate agent Jason Soprovich’s brochure described the property as an “exquisite new residence situated on a private gated estate in the heart of West Bay. This luxurious residence is situated on a breathtaking 1/4 acre estate offering spectacular ocean and coastal views. Absolutely no expense has been spared creating this timeless residence.”

FIFA VP Montagliani’s gated mansion, with a view of Stanley Park and Vancouver’s skyline (Jason Soprovich)

The house totals more than 6,000 square feet with Italian marble, hardwood flooring with radiant heating and ambient lighting throughout. “All opening out to gated grounds, lush gardens and covered veranda surrounding a family’s paradise complete with sparkling outdoor pool and bubbling hot tub.”

In June 2017, Montagliani sold his previous house near Sentinel Hill in West Vancouver for more than $3.5 million. 

Montagliani did not respond for comment.

A prepared statement to theBreaker from CONCACAF said Montagliani “has been a client of Scotiabank, both in his personal and professional capacities, since long before the CONCACAF-Scotiabank partnership. The mortgage you refer to is a refinancing of an existing mortgage that well predates Mr. Montagliani’s term as president of CONCACAF, as well as the sponsorship relationship between CONCACAF and Scotiabank.”

The statement said CONCACAF does not provide housing to employees or officers.

It once did. Chuck Blazer, the late secretary general and corruption whistleblower, reportedly billed CONCACAF for a $6,000-a-month apartment for his cats in New York’s Trump Tower. 

theBreaker asked Scotiabank whether the mortgage on Montagliani’s house was related to its sponsorship of CONCACAF, but the bank’s spokesman Lukas Gerber cited customer privacy. 

“We do not comment on customer relationships,” Gerber wrote. 

FIFA VP Montagliani and president Infantino (Twitter)

Montagliani, 52, was the Canadian Soccer Association president from 2012 until 2016. He portrayed himself as a reformer to win the CONCACAF presidency in May 2016, which automatically made him one of eight FIFA vice-presidents. 

In April, the New York Times reported that Montagliani was paid a US$1.25 million base salary with CONCACAF last year, plus bonuses, for gross compensation of more than US$2 million ($2.6 million Canadian). His gross 2017 pay was half-a-million Canadian dollars greater than FIFA president Gianni Infantino. Montagliani was also paid more than Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, United States President Donald Trump and Mexico’s outgoing president Enrique Pena Nieto combined.

CONCACAF is comprised of 41 member associations, including Haiti, one of the world’s poorest nations. 

Scotiabank became the FIFA subsidiary’s official bank and title sponsor of the CONCACAF Champions League on a four-year deal in 2014. It reviewed the relationship in 2015 in the wake of FIFA’s US$150 million transnational bribery and kickbacks scandal. Montagliani mentors Jerome Valcke of FIFA and Jeffrey Webb of CONCACAF were both ousted from their positions. Cayman Islands banker Webb pleaded guilty to corruption in late 2015 and forfeited US$6.7 million.  

In late April, Scotiabank renewed its sponsorship for another four-year term, but did not release financial terms.

Montagliani was one of the co-leaders of the North American bid for the 2026 World Cup chosen last month at the FIFA congress in Moscow. 

The United 2026 Bid Committee rejected Vancouver as a potential host city on March 14 after the provincial government unsuccessfully pleaded for further clarification and negotiation on key legal, financial and logistical terms. NDP Premier John Horgan said at the time that he was not willing to give FIFA a “blank cheque.”

Inside FIFA VP Montagliani’s old rec room, with a memento from meeting Brazilian Pato (Eric Christiansen)

In an interview with the Toronto Sun, Montagliani called it a “poor decision” and slammed the B.C. government for paying “no attention to the file” and putting a “junior person on the file.” 

Documents obtained by theBreaker under the freedom of information law show that the highest-ranking bureaucrat in the tourism and sport ministry, Deputy Minister Sandra Carroll, and the chief executive of B.C. Place Stadium operator B.C. Pavilion Corporation, Ken Cretney, were both involved.

Montagliani may have another reason to be displeased with the Horgan NDP government, which imposed a so-called schools surtax on houses worth $3 million and up in February’s budget. Since Montagliani’s mansion was assessed at $5.95 million last year, the additional tax bill would be almost $10,000. The most-recent District of West Vancouver tax bill was almost $14,000. 

The website promoting the sale of Montagliani’s previous house shows a rec room, featuring a framed jersey and photograph of Montagliani with ex-AC Milan Brazilian star Alexandre Pato, a Dallas Cowboys helmet in a glass box and a replica of the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl championship trophy in a corner beside a large-screen TV. 

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