#FIFA CORRUPTION CHARGES: Seven top FIFA officials, including vice president Jeffrey Webb, were arrested in Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich on bribery charges. Kudos to America for finally taking down Sepp Blatter who ran FIFA like a Don. Too bad he wasn’t one of the officials arrested this morning.
Julio Rocha, president of the Nicaraguan Football Federation; Jose Maria Marin, vice-president of the Brazil Football Federation; and Eduardo Li, from Costa Rica, were arrested in the Swiss hotel raids.
The U.S. Justice Department and the FBI are involved in one investigation, while the Swiss Federal Office of Justice has also opened a criminal investigation in connection with the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Qatar and Russia, deemed “criminal mismanagement and money laundering.”
The FBI will question those involved in taking bribes “totalling more than $150 million (£97.4 million)” in connection with commercial deals going back to the 1990s for soccer tournaments in the U.S. and South America. FBI director James B. Comey said that “undisclosed and illegal payments, kickbacks and brides became a way of doing business at FIFA.”
The Justice Department charged 14 people, including nine FIFA officials and five business executives. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the “indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic and deep-rooted both abroad and in the US.”
The DOJ searched the Miami headquarters of CONCACAF, soccer’s governing body in North and Central America, and the Caribbean. Electronic records were seized in a raid of FIFA’s headquarters. Bank documents were also obtained from financial institutions, with some accounts being frozen.
This was cross-posted from The Hinterland Gazette.