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Teixeira denies impropriety in wake of Garcia report

Former President of the Brazilian Soccer Confederation, Ricardo Teixeira, talks to journalists at the wake for former FIFA President Joao Havelange in Rio de Janeiro, August 16, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The reclusive former head of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) has called the FIFA ethics report “inconclusive” and asserted that he is safe in Brazil despite a U.S. indictment against him.

Ricardo Teixeira, one of three CBF presidents indicted in the United States in the FIFA corruption scandal, broke his silence after the global soccer body published a report into possible ethics violations.

He denied allegations that he took expensive gifts and said the report by U.S. lawyer Michael Garcia was filled with “ifs” and “may haves.”

“I didn’t read it,” Teixeira said in Wednesday’s Folha de S.Paulo newspaper. “I am not going to read a report that isn’t conclusive. Does it say that I took money here or there? It’s only ‘could have’. Let me tell you something so you can understand: I didn’t receive gifts. I didn’t receive gifts. I didn’t receive gifts.”

The 430-page report was completed in 2014 but had been secret until Tuesday, when FIFA hurriedly released it after the document was leaked to the German newspaper Bild.

The report said Garcia was unable to contact Teixeira but questioned his conduct while a member of FIFA’s Executive Committee for 18 years.

Teixeira, who resigned as CBF president in 2012, lives a quiet life in Rio de Janeiro and rarely talks to the press. He has not been accused of any crimes in Brazil and rubbished any chance of taking a plea bargain and cooperating with U.S. authorities, as some other former FIFA officials have done.

“Is there anywhere safer than Brazil?” Teixeira asked. “What am I running from if I am not accused of anything?”

Reporting by Andrew Downie; editing by Mark Heinrich