Swiss officials arrested several FIFA officials on corruption charges on May 27. They plan to extradite the officials to the United States where they will be tried in court.
Swiss officials arrested several FIFA officials on corruption charges on May 27.
According to The New York Times, the Swiss officials collaborated with United States law enforcement in arresting the officials at the Bar au Lac hotel in Zurich on Wednesday. They will be extradited to the United States to face federal corruption charges.
United States law enforcement law officials from the Justice Department, F.B.I. and I.R.S. said their investigation has just begun. They also vowed to rid FIFA of corruption in every way necessary.
The FIFA offiicials are accused of treating business decisions "as chits to be traded for personal wealth," per The New York Times. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch even said one of them had an estimated $10 million worth of bribes.
Among the FIFA-related issues which were allegedly tainted by corruption were the selection of South Africa as the venue of the 2010 World Cup, the 2011 FIFA presidential elections and some sports marketing deals, per The New York Times.
Several hours after the bust operation in Zurich on Wednesday, Swiss authorities told The New York Times they opened criminal cases connected to bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
The FIFA officials who are charged include Eduardo Li, Jeffrey Webb, Eugenio Figueredo, Jack Warner, Julio Rocha, Costas Takkas, Rafael Esquivel, Jose Maria Marin and Nicolas Leoz, per The New York Times update.
FIFA issued a statement on its official website on May 27 saying Hans-Joachim Eckert, chariman of the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee, "banned provisionally 11 individuals from carrying out any football-related activities on a national and international level."
Aside from the nine individuals previously mentioned, FIFA also banned Chuck Blazer and Daryll Warner.
The Department of Justice singled out 14 people on charges of racketeering, wire fraud ane money laundering conspiracy. Several sports marketing executives from the United States and South America were also allegedly involved in bribes and kickbacks amounting to $150 million in exchange for lucrative media deals.
Among the sports marketing officials identified and charged were Alejandro Burzaco, Aaron Davidson, Hugo Jinkis and Mariano Jinkis, per The New York Times.
The New York Times goes into detail on how the corruption took place within the FIFA Ranks:
"Some of the payments were funneled through intricate schemes. After committing fraud, bribery and money laundering, prosecutors wrote, defendants covered up those payments in various ways: using fake consulting contracts to funnel illegal payments; sending money through associates working in banking or currency dealing; creating shell companies in tax havens; hiding foreign bank accounts; using safe deposit boxes; and 'bulk cash smuggling.'
"These individuals and organizations engaged in bribery to decide who would televise games, where the games would be held, and who would run the organization overseeing organized soccer worldwide," Lynch told The New York Times on Wednesday.
Prosecutors allege Warner instructed an associate to go to Paris to accept a briefcase loaded with money from a South African bid committee member in a hotel room in 2010. Warner then accepted the money in Trinidad.
Not only that, a Moroccan bid committee member pledged $1 million in exchange for Warner's vote for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. However, the South African bid committee offered $10 million worth in bribe money to Warner and two other members of the FIFA executive committee.
The three individuals voted for South Africa, per The New York Times.
Prosecutors identified "a high-ranking official at FIFA and AFC" who reached out to Warner during the 2011 FIFA presidential elections. The official was running for FIFA president and wanted to inform several soccer officials about this, per The New York Times.
Once Warner rounded up the officials, the high-ranking officer wired him $363,537.98.
In a separate FIFA press release, the organization announced its appreciation for the measures taken against corruption.
It reads, "We are pleased to see the investigation is being energetically pursued for the good of football and believe that it will help to reinforce measures that FIFA has already taken."
A FIFA spokesman insisted the organization's president, Sepp Blatter, is innocent. An election scheduled for May 29, which will give Blatter a fifth term as FIFA president, will proceed as scheduled, per The New York Times.
FIFA issued a statement from Blatter on its official website in light of the arrests made on Wednesday:
"This is a difficult time for football, the fans and for FIFA as an organisation. We understand the disappointment that many have expressed and I know that the events of today will impact the way in which many people view us...
"Let me be clear: such misconduct has no place in football and we will ensure that those who engage in it are put out of the game.
"We will continue to work with the relevant authorities and we will work vigorously within FIFA in order to root out any misconduct, to regain your trust and ensure that football worldwide is free from wrongdoing."
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