Several top FIFA officials have been arrested by Swiss authorities at Zurich over corruption charges in the early hours on Wednesday Morning. According to media reports, the FIFA heads were present at Zurich on Wednesday morning for the annual meeting of the governing body. Almost a dozen Swiss law enforcement officials arrived at the at Zurich’s Baur au Lac hotel in plain clothes and arrested them.
The charges suggest that for more than 20 years the governing body officials were indulged in malpractices and corruption was widespread in the organisation including bids for World Cups, their marketing and broadcast deals.
Six people have been arrested initially, but several other officials including vice presidents Jeffrey Webb and Eugenio Figueredo and former executive committee member Jack Warner, are charged with cases involving wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering.
A Federal Office of Justice statement read:”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 $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 U.S. request, these crimes were agreed and prepared in the U.S., and payments were carried out via U.S. banks.”