December 6th, 2010
03:04 PM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Julio Grondona

The Argentine Football Association president is at the center of widespread allegations of FIFA corruption after soccer’s governing body awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively.

Grondona has emphatically denied the allegations, telling the Argentine new outlet Telam, “There has to be an end to playing with my good name,” according to ESPN.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, a former employee of Qatar’s bid team said that an adviser recommended the Qatar Football Association pay $78.4 million to help the Argentine Football Association cope with a financial crisis. The payment reportedly was meant to help Qatar’s relationship with Grondona, who is on FIFA’s executive committee, which determines host cities.

According to ESPN, Grondona questioned why the Argentine group would have a debt so large and further told Telam, “I am not going to give any credence to whatever people say. The fact is the AFA has a solid contract with the Argentine government, and it is all going quite well.”

This allegation, of course, is not the first involving corruption by FIFA officials. BBC’s "Panorama" aired an investigation last month in which “reporter Andrew Jennings exposes new evidence of bribery, and accuses some executives of taking kickbacks.”

You have only to Google “FIFA World Cup bribe” to find a slew of allegations.

It’s worth noting that no FIFA official has been charged with any wrongdoing, and though many commenters have angrily vented about their country not being selected, few such complaints seem to originate in Russia or Qatar.

The Twietmeyers

Kiel and Carolyn Twietmeyer are using adoption not only as a means of providing better lives for children but also as a way to send a message about children with HIV/AIDS.

The Twietmeyers adopted three children from Ethiopia in 2007, including Samuel, a 9-year-old who is HIV positive. Later, when Carolyn returned to Ethiopia, she met Selah, 11, who was living with end-stage AIDS, according to a profile in the Chicago Tribune.

Selah weighed 32 pounds and was not expected to live, the paper said.

The Joliet, Illinois, couple, whose work is featured in this week’s issue of People magazine, now have 13 children.

Like many would-be adoptive parents, the couple told the paper they had concerns about adopting an HIV-positive child, but after studying the matter, they determined “there is nothing to be scared of.”

Samuel and Selah are both doing much better,  according to the Tribune;  in fact, Samuel is no longer on medication.

“Our lives have changed so much and our blessings have been so abundant since then,” Kiel Twietmeyer told the Tribune. “We're the ones that were really in need of them.”

With Project HOPEFUL (Help Parents and Orphans Eliminate Further Unnecessary Loss), they strive to educate and enable families “to advocate for and adopt children with HIV/AIDS.”

Selah, now 13, told the Tribune she wants to follow in the Twietmeyers' footsteps. She said she wants to be a doctor when she grows up “so that I can help HIV kids because I think I know how they feel.”

Katia Zatuliveter

The latest woman accused of spying for Russia has a British lawmaker defending his hiring of the woman.

Parliament member Mike Hancock, a Liberal Democrat who sits on the Defense Committee, denies that Zatuliveter, his aide, was a spy.

I know nothing about espionage, but she has been subjected to a deportation order,” he told CNN. “She is appealing it because she feels - quite rightly - that she has done nothing wrong.”

He added that she “was vetted and cleared to have a parliamentary pass.”

MI5, the British intelligence service, arrested the 25-year-old after determining that she was a sleeper agent, according to Sky News. The BBC reported that Zatuliveter had been detained at Heathrow Airport four months ago.

London’s Daily Mail raised questions about the lawmaker's “outspoken support for Valdimir Putin’s regime,” but Hancock has not waivered in his defense of the young woman.

Katia came with references and was the best person for the job,” he told the paper. “She was security checked and it took about two months for her House of Commons' pass to come through. I have employed an American girl before and her dad was a congressman. Her pass took the same amount of time to come through.”

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Andreas Moser

    And I know exactly WHY Russia and Qatar won the Football World Cups: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/fifa-russia-qatar/

    December 6, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Richard Allen

    intriguing? that guy is more scary than anything.

    December 6, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. kim

    GEE I LIKE TO KNOW WHAT SO TOP SECRET THESE DAYS. A SLEEPER AGENT OH WHAT CRAP. DO YOU THINK EVERYONE A SPY!

    December 6, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |