Seven Fifa Officials in Custody of Swiss Police Ahead of Friday’s Congress

Seven top FIFA officials have been arrested and detained by Swiss police on suspicion of corruption in dawn raid.

The officials, which according to reports include vice-president Jeffrey Webb from the Cayman Island, were seized from the luxury five-star Baur as Lac hotel in Zurich this morning. The New York Times also reports Costa Rica soccer federation president Eduardo Li was among the seven.

Charges pressed against them include wire fraud, bribery and money laundering totalling more than $100m (£64.82m about N20bn).

The US Federal Office of Justice have linked the racketeering activities to commercial deals for football tournaments in the United States and North America dating back to the 1990s.

It is yet unclear if the investigation involved the 1994 World Cup hosted in the U.S.

Top Fifa Officials Detained By Swiss Police and Could Be Extradited to the U.S. Over Allegations of Corruption. Image: Getty.
Top Fifa Officials Detained By Swiss Police and Could Be Extradited to the U.S. Over Allegations of Corruption. Image: Getty.

The FBI will question the officials today and could be extradited to the States where they could face trial.

A statement from the US Federal Office of Justice said: “The bribery suspects – representatives of sports media and sports promotion firms – are alleged to have been involved in schemes to make payments to the soccer functionaries – delegates of Fifa and other functionaries of Fifa sub-organizations – totaling more than USD 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 US request, these crimes were agreed and prepared in the US, and payments were carried out via US banks.”

Fifa officials are in Switzerland for the 65th Fifa congress and presidential election, where Sepp Blatter leads polls to win a fifth term at the helm of football’s governing body. Jordanian prince and Fifa vice-president for Asia, Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein is seeking to unseat incumbent, Blatter.

Blatter, 79, was not among the arrested men, according to the AP. The Fifa president is scheduled to attend a meeting of the Confederation of African Football by 8:30 this morning.

Subsequent arrests is however not ruled out at this stage.

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Congress, fbi, FIFA, Jeffrey Webb, Swiss, Zurich

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