THE Swiss Federal Office of Justice has frozen millions of Swiss francs worth of cash linked to the investigation into corruption at FIFA officials announced on December 17 according to the Wall Street Journal which quoted ministry spokesman Folco Galli as saying “U.S. authorities have asked for documents related to 50 accounts at 10 banks in Switzerland. They have asked us to freeze 12 of these accounts.”
This report is somewhat different to that which appears on the BBC website which infers that the funds are owned by FIFA itself rather than individuals associated with FIFA but the amount involved seems to be between 50 million and 100 million Swiss Francs (€46 million to €92 million).
Most sources agree however that US officials believe “corruption money” may have been transited through the frozen accounts.
In the meantime, suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter who steps down on February 26 next year, forcing an election for a new president, is appearing before the FIFA ethics committee defending himself against all suggestions of corruption, especially in the case of a significant payment to Michel Platini, head of UEFA and said by many to be Blatter’s heir apparent who is also suspended.
Regardless of the outcome, the English Football Association has indicated that it would find it very difficult to support Platini if he stands for election, even if he is cleared of all charges. One person who indicated that he would run for president is Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain, although he has been accused of “complicity in crimes against humanity” which he strenuously denies.