The world awoke Wednesday morning to the news that a number of high-ranking FIFA officials had been arrested by Swiss authorities in a Zürich hotel, and were facing extradition to the USA on charges of racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud.
And there’s more. A few hours later, the Swiss announced that they had also been busy with their own investigation, and that they had seized documentation from FIFA headquarters in relation to alleged “criminal mismanagement” and “money laundering.” Unfortunately for fans of early morning police raids, both operations appears to have taken place with general cooperation, and without anybody having to smash through any windows.
So. The first one. What’s alleged to have happened?
This morning the U.S. Dept. of Justice released a (fairly extraordinary) statement outlining the allegations. Fourteen individuals are accused of various offenses in relation to “a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer.” Four other individual defendants and two corporate defendants have pleaded guilty.
Specifically, the charges relate to the practices of CONCACAF – the federation that oversees football in North and Central America – and its dealings with a number of U.S. and South American sports marketing companies. Over $150 million in “bribes and kickbacks” is alleged to have been solicited and paid to secure media and marketing rights to international tournaments and fixtures, including World Cup qualifiers, the Copa America, the CONCACAF Gold Cup and Champions League, and the Copa Libertadores.
Source: SB Nation