Reports: FIFA officials arrested on corruption charges
Multiple reports including from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have announced that a total of 14 FIFA officials and corporate executives – not including President Sepp Blatter – have been arrested on federal corruption charges in an operation carried out by United States and Swiss law enforcement early Wednesday morning in Zürich, Switzerland.
According to the New York Times, the U.S. Department of Justice indictment names the 14 people on charges such as racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. The charges have to do with millions of dollars taken in bribes in recent years, including several officials accepting bribes to support bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which were awarded to Russia and Qatar, respectively.
The FBI and IRS are also involved in the investigation which is seeking to get rid of the “systemic corruption” which is said to have been plaguing FIFA for decades.
The Wall Street Journal writes:
“The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday said it had charged nine current and former FIFA officials and five others on broad corruption charges, accusing them of various schemes over 24 years to enrich themselves through FIFA.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the individuals indicted had “corrupted the business of worldwide soccer to serve their interests and to enrich themselves” and described the alleged scheme as “rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted” in the U.S. and abroad.
In a sweeping, 161-page indictment that lists 25 co-conspirators in addition to the 14 named defendants, prosecutors describe a wide-ranging scheme that spanned decades and involved increasingly large payments as soccer grew more commercially valuable in South America and the U.S.”