More charges could follow in FIFA corruption scandal

2015-09-14 18:54
Sepp Blatter (Gallo)

Zurich - More charges could follow in investigations of corruption surrounding football world governing body FIFA, US attorney general Loretta Lynch said Tuesday.

In May, 14 people including nine former football officials and five sports marketing executives were indicted on racketeering charges in the United States involving more than 150 million dollars.

The investigation has expanded since then and investigators "anticipate pursuing additional charges against individuals and entities," Lynch said.

"As I made clear at our initial announcement, the scope of our investigation is not limited, and we are following the evidence where it leads," she said.

"I am grateful for the significant cooperation and substantial evidence that we have received from all quarters."

Lynch could give no timescale on the investigations but both she and her Swiss counterpart, Michael Lauber, indicated their probes could be lengthy affairs.

The Swiss probe into the bid process and election of the 2018 World Cup hosts Russia and 2022 hosts Qatar "is not even at the halfway stage," Lauber told a joint news conference in Zurich.

As part of the investigation, a number of apartments and houses in the Swiss Alps have been searched and evidence seized, Lauber said.

FIFA has been hit by a number of corruption allegations. Ahead of the FIFA congress in Zurich on May 29, seven football officials were arrested as part of the US investigation, including two FIFA vice-presidents at the time.

Lynch said 13 of the 14 defendants charged have been arrested by either US or foreign authorities.

Three defendants are currently in the United States and have been arraigned in federal court in Brooklyn, where the cases against them are proceeding.

Ten others are currently pending extradition in Switzerland and in three other countries.

The Zurich news conference came after a Swiss TV report alleged FIFA president Joseph Blatter under-sold World Cup television rights to the former Caribbean Football Union (CFU) president Jack Warner.

Asked if Blatter was a target of investigations, Lynch said she did not wish to comment.

Blatter, 79, was re-elected FIFA president at the May 29 congress for a fifth term but said four days later he would step down. A new president is to be elected on February 26 at an extraordinary congress.

Lynch meanwhile praised the cooperation with Swiss authorities and elsewhere.

"I have been gratified to see that the response to this problem has not been limited to one country or even one continent," she said.

"The problem of corruption in soccer is global, and we will remain vigilant in our efforts to support a global response."

Read more on:    fifa  |  soccer


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