The United States is seeking to extradite corporate executives and officials of Fifa, the international association responsible for governing football and the World Cup, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said on Wednesday (Thursday NZT).
Swiss authorities arrested six defendants in a dawn raid at a swanky hotel in Zurich on Wednesday on charges stemming from taking bribes, including from countries bidding to host the World Cup.
Those arrested have been taken into custody, a law enforcement official said. If they fight the extradition order, the case could drag on for years, the official said.
Swiss authorities said that six of seven individuals arrested on corruption charges will contest their extradition to the United States, but that one person agreed to be extradited.
In a brief statement which didn’t disclose names, Switzerland’s Federal Office of Justice said US officials now have up to 40 days to submit formal and detailed extradition requests to Swiss authorities.
“Extradition proceedings will be resumed as soon as these requests have been received,” the justice office said in a statement on Wednesday.
It’s been an open secret that FIFA is basically corrupt, and that there must have been bribes for Qatar to win the World Cup hosting for 2022. Very impressed that finally someone has done something about it, and that charges have been laid. That is the way to stop it in future.
European football’s governing body UEFA has called for Friday’s Fifa presidential election, where current president Sepp Blatter will seek a fifth term against Prince Ali bin Al Hussein to be postponed, secretary general Gianni Infantino told reporters.
“We strongly believe the Fifa Congress should be postponed with new Fifa presidential elections to be organised within the next six months,” he told reporters at the Sheraton Hotel.
Blatter may not have been charged himself, bit it happened on his watch.
US officials gave details of a case in which they said they exposed complex money laundering schemes, found millions of dollars in untaxed incomes and tens of millions in offshore accounts held by Fifa officials.
Can’t wait for the trials.
On radio a week or so ago I compared FIFA to the mafia, and reflected afterwards that I may have been too harsh. But as we learn about the offshore bank accounts, I think not.