Federal prosecutors said that senior football officials made use of partnerships with sports marketing executives to ask for $150 million in bribes in exchange for their support for gaining the host privilege of FIFA World Cup events, like the 2010 World Cup.
A federal indictment with 47 counts was released in Brooklyn. The charges were brought against nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives. They are accused of money laundering, bribery, racketeering and wire fraud, among other offenses, which are part of a 25-years old scheme to profit trough their positions in the sport.
Soccer officials from all parts of the world are gathering in Zurich this week to be present at the annual FIFA Congress, Swiss police forces upheld seven suspects whom were charged in the indictment. A separate search was carried out by federal investigators at CONCACAF headquarters in Miami.
“The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States. It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickback. It has profoundly harmed a multitude of victims, from the youth leagues and developing countries, to the fans at home,” U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a press release just before of a news conference New York.
According to the official documents, nine of the accused were FIFA officials. The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland explained the criminal procedures are against persons on suspicion of money laundering and criminal mismanagement and in connection to the successful World Cup bidders.
The U.S. were denied the hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup, which was won by Qatar in the final round of voting.
The Attorney General of Switzerland added documents and computers were seized at FIFA’s headquarter in Zurich. FIFA is the governing body of world soccer.
FIFA mentioned, during a press conference, it is cooperating with the investigation but added that re-voting on the host of the tournament was out of the question. The FIFA World Cup takes place every four years and is watched by tens of millions of people.
According to Switzerland’s Federal Office of Justice, the seven FIFA officials that were arrested in Switzerland could face extradition to the United States where they are accused of federal corruption charges,.
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