Key criminal investigations related to FIFA corruption scandal
— The US Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service are investigating suspicions that more than $200 million in bribes were paid for football television deals and marketing contracts. The investigation came to light at the end of May as seven FIFA officials were arrested in Zurich while attending the world football governing body’s Congress. Swiss authorities conducted the arrests on behalf of US authorities, who also asked for the officials to be extradited. Two more FIFA officials were arrested at the same Zurich hotel in December. Thirty-nine people in all have been indicted by US authorities in connection with the case and more are expected.
— On the same day as the May arrests, Swiss prosecutors launched a criminal inquiry into criminal mismanagement and money laundering concerning the bidding process for the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments, won by Russia and Qatar respectively. Swiss authorities raided FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich and questioned a number of FIFA officials. The move came after FIFA made the controversial Garcia Report into alleged bribery during the bidding process for the two tournaments available to the Attorney General of Switzerland.
In September, Swiss authorities announced that FIFA president Sepp Blatter had been placed under formal investigation over a FIFA payment to UEFA president Michel Platini in 2011. Blatter authorised the 2 million Swiss francs ($2 million, 1.8 million euros) transfer to the Frenchman, who was also a FIFA vice-president. Blatter and Platini claim the payment was for consultancy work done a decade earlier and had been subject to an oral contract. Swiss authorities also launched a criminal mismanagement probe into Blatter in relation to a 2005 TV deal signed with former CONCACAF president Jack Warner.
— German police searched the headquarters of the German Football Association (DFB) in November following press allegations that FIFA votes had been bought to win the right to host the 2006 World Cup. German authorities have launched a tax probe against three DFB officials relating to a 6.7 million euro ($7.4 million) payment made to FIFA. Der Spiegel magazine claimed the DFB had bought the votes of four Asian members of FIFA’s executive committee in order to tip the balance of the 2000 election for the 2006 tournament in Germany’s favour. They beat South Africa by 12 votes to 11 to stage the global showpiece.
— Police in several countries have launched football inquiries following the FIFA arrests in Zurich. Brazilian police are looking into possible involvement of international football officials in the channelling of tickets for the 2014 World Cup to the black market. The football federations in England, Belgium and the Netherlands have all sought legal advice about possibly suing FIFA after Blatter said an agreement to give the 2018 World Cup to Russia was made before the FIFA executive voted on the tournament in 2010.
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