The Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) today confirmed that at the request of US authorities, the Zurich Cantonal Police have arrested six ‘soccer’ officials in connection to bribery allegations, who have been detained pending extradition to the US. ‘The FOJ’s arrest warrants were issued further to a request by the US authorities’, read an FOJ statement. ‘The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York is investigating these individuals on suspicion of the acceptance of bribes and kick-backs between the early 1990s and the present day. The bribery suspects – representatives of sports media and sports promotion firms – are alleged to have been involved in schemes to make payments to the soccer functionaries – delegates of FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) and other functionaries of FIFA sub-organisations – totaling more than US$100 million. In return, it is believed that they received media, marketing, and sponsorship rights in connection with soccer tournaments in Latin America. According to the US request, these crimes were agreed and prepared in the US, and payments were carried out via US banks.’
FIFA said that it is “very happy” that both US and Swiss authorities today took separate actions over alleged embezzlement ahead of the 65th FIFA Congress, 28-29 May 2015. The US Department of Justice (DoJ) charged nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives with ‘racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies, among other offenses, in connection with the defendants’ participation in a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer’ in a 47-count indictment released this morning. This statement also included the unsealing of the identities of four individuals and two corporations, which had previously pleaded guilty to DoJ charges under seal. Hours earlier, the Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) had confirmed that six ‘soccer’ officials had been detained as part of the US investigation.