South Korean FIFA presidential hopeful Chung Mong-joon said Wednesday he will seek embezzlement charges against incumbent boss Sepp Blatter, calling him "a hypocrite and a liar."
In a speech at the Sport Business Summit in London, Chung said he will take legal action against the outgoing world football honcho, who is under investigation by Swiss authorities over financial misconduct.
Chung, who himself is facing possible FIFA sanctions, said Blatter must pay for the damage he inflicted on FIFA.
"Mr. Blatter is a hypocrite and a liar," said Chung, a FIFA vice president from 1994 to 2011. "I plan to sue Mr. Blatter on his embezzlement in court."
The South Korean said he will take his legal steps in the Swiss courts and blasted Blatter for refusing to disclose his salary.
Chung, a billionaire scion of the South Korean conglomerate Hyundai Group, is running against UEFA President Michel Platini and Jordanian Prince Ali bin al-Hussein for the Feb. 26 election.
Candidates are required to have nominations from five national federations by Oct. 26.
Chung, however, may be banned from all football activities before then, as FIFA's Ethics Committee is apparently seeking to punish him for alleged vote trading in a World Cup bid.
Earlier Wednesday, an aide to Chung told reporters that FIFA will likely mete out punishment as early as Wednesday.
Chung is under scrutiny for writing to FIFA executive members in 2010 about creating the Global Football Fund, valued at US$777 million, as South Korea was bidding for either the 2018 or 2022 World Cups.
In a press conference in Seoul on Tuesday, Chung had said FIFA was seeking a 15-year suspension for the proposal of the fund and another four years for his criticism of the Ethics Committee.
"Even if the committee may reduce the length of suspension, it is almost certain to hand out some sort of a sanction," the aide said, adding that once the penalty is issued, Chung will file an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the world's highest sports tribunal.
It wasn't immediately clear if a CAS ruling would be made in time for Chung to formally register as a FIFA presidential candidate on Oct. 26.
In his Seoul press conference, Chung charged that FIFA had deliberately launched a smear campaign against him to undermine his candidacy and accused the Ethics Committee of being a "hitman" for Blatter. (Yonhap)