Tags: fifa | arrests | charges | soccer | corruption

FIFA Arrests Follow US Charges Over World Soccer Corruption

By    |   Wednesday, 27 May 2015 09:22 AM

Seven officials at FIFA, the world's largest soccer organization, were arrested by Swiss authorities Wednesday morning as part of an FBI probe into corruption charges.

According to the BBC News, the seven arrested in Zurich while attending a meeting included: Jeffrey Webb, head of the Confederation for North and Central America and the Caribbean and FIFA vice-president; Costa Rica's national football chief Eduardo Li; Uruguay's Eugenio Figueredo, president of South American football governing body; Venezuelan Football Federation president Rafael Esquivel; Brazil's Jose Maria Marin, a member of FIFA club committee; and FIFA development officer Julio Rocha, from Nicaragua.

The arrests were part of a 47-count indictment unsealed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York, charging a total of 14 defendants with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies, among other offenses, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

The department said the indictments stem from an alleged "24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer."

"The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States," U.S Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement. "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 kickbacks."

Critics have long complained about FIFA's lack of transparency and alleged corruption that intensified when the organization named Russia and Qatar as the host sites of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, respectively, reported The New York Times. The bid selections are now also under criminal investigation, Swiss officials told the Times.

The department also announced guilty pleas for four individual and two corporate defendants, including Charles Blazer, the former general secretary of Central American and Caribbean Association Football and the former U.S. representative on the FIFA executive committee; José Hawilla, the owner and founder of the Traffic Group, a multinational sports marketing conglomerate headquartered in Brazil and two of his companies.

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Seven officials at FIFA, the world's largest soccer organization, were arrested by Swiss authorities Wednesday morning as part of an FBI probe into corruption charges.
fifa, arrests, charges, soccer, corruption
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2015-22-27
Wednesday, 27 May 2015 09:22 AM
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