FIFA officials arrested on corruption charges, to face federal court in U.S.
Authorities in Switzerland are in the process of arresting several FIFA officials in Zurich and are looking to extradite them to the United States. The officials will face federal corruption charges.
According to a report in the New York Times, more than a dozen policemen in plain clothes Swiss authorities moved to the Baur au Lac hotel early on Wednesday morning, where the leaders of FIFA had assembled for their annual meeting. The arrests were said to be peaceful.
The charges made against them include corruption in the body for the last 20 years, which includes bids for World Cups and deals for marketing and broadcasting. The charges include wire fraud, racketeering, and money laundering, and the investigating authorities have said that the targeted people are members of FIFA’s executive committee, which does a large chunk of its business in secret.
This inquiry will also be a major threat to current President Sepp Blatter’s re-election bid, with the ballots in the election set to be cast on Friday. Six FIFA officials are facing charges, including vice presidents Jeffrey Webb and Eugenio Figueredo and former executive committee member Jack Warner. Blatter was not among the people charged, said the report.
Jack Warner resigned from his position in 2011 when he was accused of widespread corruption. Following his resignation, FIFA stopped their inquiry into the corruption charges. He was the head of CONCACAF from 1990 till 2011.
Reports from the Wall Street Journal also indicate that the FBI plan to unseal indictments as soon as Wednesday, with recently appointed U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and FBI director James Corney will address the media.
Update: The FIFA officials who have been charged are Jeffrey Webb, Eugenio Figueredo, Jack Warner, Eduardo Li, Julio Rocha, Costas Takkas, Rafael Esquivel, José Maria Marin and Nicolás Leoz. Sports Marketing executives Alejandro Burzaco, Aaron Davidson, Hugo Jinkis and Mariano Jinkis are also expected to be charged while José Margulies has been charged as an intermediary for facilitating illegal payments.