FIFA officials arrested in dawn raid amid bribery claims

FIFA officials arrested in dawn raid amid bribery claims

Six football officials have been arrested and detained in Switzerland pending extradition at the request of US authorities ahead of the Fifa congress in Zurich.

The Swiss Federal Office of Justice said US authorities suspect the officials of receiving or paying bribes totalling millions of dollars.

It said the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York is investigating the six on suspicion of the acceptance of bribes and kickbacks between the early 1990s and now.

Officers swooped on the five star Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich and arrested a number of officials, including FIFA vice-president Jeffrey Webb from the Cayman Islands, it's understood.

Fifa is holding a presidential election in Zurich on Friday with Sepp Blatter widely tipped to stay in the job. It is understood that Blatter is not among those arrested.

The New York Times has reported that charges include wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering, and that the United States Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch is due to hold a news conference later on Wednesday.

A statement from the Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) read: "The six soccer functionaries were arrested today in Zurich by the Zurich Cantonal Police.

“The FOJ’s arrest warrants were issued further to a request by the US authorities.

“The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York is investigating these individuals on suspicion of the acceptance of bribes and kick-backs between the early 1990s and the present day.

“The bribery suspects – representatives of sports media and sports promotion firms – are alleged to have been involved in schemes to make payments to the soccer functionaries – delegates of Fifa (Federation Internationale de Football Association) and other functionaries of Fifa sub-organisations – totalling more than 100 million US dollars.

“In return, it is believed that they received media, marketing, and sponsorship rights in connection with soccer tournaments in Latin America. According to the US request, these crimes were agreed and prepared in the US, and payments were carried out via US banks.”

As many as 15 officials may be under investigation worldwide, according to sources.

More on this topic

Former FIFA officials 'enriched themselves' by €70m, says lawyerFormer FIFA officials 'enriched themselves' by €70m, says lawyer

FIFA seek return of 'tens of millions of dollars' in bribe moneyFIFA seek return of "tens of millions of dollars" in bribe money

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter facing 80th birthday in very different worldFormer FIFA president Sepp Blatter facing 80th birthday in very different world

Report 'cannot rule out' 2006 World Cup votes being boughtReport 'cannot rule out' 2006 World Cup votes being bought

More in this Section

Coronavirus outbreak ‘could last for months’Coronavirus outbreak ‘could last for months’

French energy giant Total faces legal action over climate policyFrench energy giant Total faces legal action over climate policy

Hong Kong train services to mainland China to cease amid coronavirus outbreakHong Kong train services to mainland China to cease amid coronavirus outbreak

Face mask manufacturers face a surge in demand after coronavirus outbreakFace mask manufacturers face a surge in demand after coronavirus outbreak


Lifestyle

Four graduates tell Siobhan Howe how their fine art degree has influenced their approach to their working life.What use is a degree in fine art? Four graduates answer the question

Terry Gilliam tells Esther McCarthy about the mystery woman who helped him to finally get his Don Quixote film made after 30 yearsTerry Gilliam: Back in the saddle again

Twitch will no longer be the home of esports for Call of Duty, Overwatch and Hearthstone, with those games (and more) going to YouTube instead.Violence in the stream: Big changes for esports

That may say more about how the media treats flaws and beauty than it says about Alicia Keys herself, but nevertheless, it was refreshing at the time to see someone say no to the Hollywood expectations of beauty.The Skin Nerd: Unlocking Alicia Keys’ secrets to gorgeous skin

More From The Irish Examiner