Six FIFA Officials Arrested Over Bribery Charge | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Six FIFA Officials Arrested Over Bribery Charge

Posted: May 27, 2015 at 6:32 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

*Names Of Nine Indicted Current And Former Officials Released

By Celestine Amoke, Lagos

Six leading football officials have been arrested and detained pending extradition to the United States on federal corruption charges relating to FIFA.

The arrest was made and confirmed by Swiss police in the early hours of Wednesday, May 27, 2015.

An international law enforcement collaboration resulted in morning raids at the Hotel Bauer au Lac in Zurich where officials were staying ahead of the 65th FIFA congress.

The arrests began around 6 a.m. local time, with police covering the detained with bed sheets as they led them to waiting cars.

FIFA has called a press conference for 1100CET at which the organisation’s Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Walter De Gregorio, will face the media.

The FIFA president, is not believed to have been arrested, but Swiss police revealed six figures are set to be questioned over fraud allegations.

“By order of the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ), six soccer officials were arrested in Zurich on Wednesday and detained pending extradition,” a statement from Zurich police confirmed.

“The US authorities suspect them of having received bribes totaling in the millions of US dollars. The FOJ’s arrest warrants were issued further to a request by the U.S. authorities.

“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 – sports media and promotion representatives – are alleged to have been involved in schemes to make payments to the soccer functionaries (delegates of FIFA and its sub-organisations) totaling more than $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 U.S. request, the crimes were agreed and prepared in the U.S., and payments were carried out via U.S. banks.”

Zurich police confirmed the extradition process would begin immediately, subject to appeal, while a senior official within the U.S. law enforcement ranks expressed shock at the two decades of alleged money-laundering and fraud.

Meanwhile, the names of the nine current and former football officials indicted on the corruption charges by the U.S. Justice Department has been released.

The list of those arrested and indicted include Jeffrey Webb, current FIFA vice-president and executive committee member and president of the North American, Central American and Caribbean Football Federation (CONCACAF).

Others are Eduardo Li, current FIFA executive committee member-elect, CONCACAF executive committee member and Costa Rican soccer federation (FEDEFUT) president; Costas Takkas, current attaché to the CONCACAF president; Eugenio Figueredo, current FIFA vice president and executive committee member.

They Include former president of the South American Football Federation (CONMEBOL); Rafael Esquivel, current CONMEBOL executive committee member and Venezuelan Soccer Federation (FVF) president.

Others are Julio Rocha, current FIFA development officer, former Central American Football Union (UNCAF) president and Nicaraguan soccer federation (FENIFUT) president; Jose Maria Marin, current member of the FIFA organising committee for Olympic football tournaments and former Brazilian football federation (CFB) president.

Also indicted are Jack Warner, former FIFA vice president, executive committee member and CONCACAF president; and  Nicolas Leoz, former FIFA executive committee member and CONMEBOL president;

In addition, four other defendants in the case are sports marketing executives and one who worked in broadcasting.

Four individuals and two corporate defendants have already entered guilty pleas in the case.

They are Charles `Chuck’ Blazer, the long-serving former general secretary of CONCACAF and former U.S. representative on the FIFA executive committee, and Daryll Warner, son of defendant Jack Warner and a former FIFA development officer.