The United States and Swiss governments have unsealed their indictments on several FIFA officials. According to the United States Department of Justice, nine Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) officials and five corporate executives were indicted for Racketeering, Conspiracy and Corruption. This morning, a 47-count indictment was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, charging fourteen defendants for taking an alleged $150 million in bribes, wire fraud and money laundering. However, it must be noted FIFA president Sepp Blatter escaped indictment.
“The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks. And it has profoundly harmed a multitude of victims, from the youth leagues and developing countries that should benefit from the revenue generated by the commercial rights these organizations hold, to the fans at home and throughout the world whose support for the game makes those rights valuable. Today’s action makes clear that this Department of Justice intends to end any such corrupt practices, to root out misconduct, and to bring wrongdoers to justice – and we look forward to continuing to work with other countries in this effort.”
In a separate indictment unsealed this morning, the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has “opened criminal proceedings against persons unknown on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and money laundering in connection with the alllocation of the 2018 and 2022 Football World Cups.”
Issa Hayatou (president of the Confederation of African Football), Angel Maria Villar Llona (Spain), Michel D’Hooghe (Belgium), Senes Erzik (Turkey), Worawi Makudi(Thailand), Marios Lefkaritis (Cyprus), Jacques Anouma (Ivory Coast), Rafael Salguero(Guatemala), Hany Abo Rida (Egypt) and Vitaly Mutko (Russia – head of the 2018 World Cup and sports minister) are among those currently under investigation.