US investigators launch two-pronged assault on FIFA

Cordon Press

THE Swiss police on Wednesday raided the headquarters of FIFA in Zurich, seizing documents in a probe linked to fraud in the awarding of the 2018 and 2020 World Cups, the Swiss attorney-general’s office said.
The US Department of Justice headed the shock dawn arrests of six top football officials in Zurich, only two days before its president Sepp Blatter seeks re-election as head of football’s world governing body.
Documents and electronic data were seized as part of an investigation already underway into money laundering and fraud involving FIFA’s awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.
Meanwhile the American Department of Justice announced the unsealing of a 47-count indictment in a federal court, which detailed charges against 14 people for racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. They include FIFA officials accused of taking bribes totalling more than €138 million.
Vice President of FIFA, Jeffrey Webb, from the Cayman Islands, is amongst those arrested, as is Eduardo Li of Costa Rica, Eugenio Figueredo of Uruguay and the Brazilian deputy FA chief Jose Maria Marin, according to BBC Radio 5 Live.
“The defendants fostered a culture of corruption and greed that created an uneven playing field for the biggest sport in the world,” FBI Director James Comey said in a news release. “Undisclosed and illegal payments, kickbacks and bribes became a way of doing business at FIFA.”


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