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Six FIFA Officials Arrested In Zurich

Wed 27th May 2015 | FIFA

Six FIFA officials have been arrested in Zurich, Switzerland on suspected corruption charges.

The arrests were made this morning (27th) at the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich with FIFA Vice-President, Jeffery Webb thought to be among those arrested. 

Webb, the head of the confederation for North and Central America and the Caribbean and five others have been detained pending extradition to the US.

The arrests follow a US investigation into corruption at world football’s governing body and involves alleged bribes worth about $100m (£65m) over two decades.

It’s understood President Sepp Blatter was not among those arrested ahead of the FIFA congress on Friday in which he will stand for re-election as president.

Answering intense questions from the media in a press conference held today by FIFA director of communications, Walter De Gregorio said that the arrests today were made out of convenience as officials were gathered for the 65th congress due to start tomorrow (28th).

“All the people that they [investigators] wanted to talk to are all here, this is why they have done this now,” De Gregorio said when quizzed.  

De Gregorio also dismissed the suggestions that the congress and Presidential election should be postponed, “There was never such an idea to postpone the congress or the election. The election and the full agenda will go on as planned.”

The arrests follow a coordinated investigation with US official and it’s understood a number of documents have also been seized by the Swiss Attorney General. A statement from the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland on the seizure of those documents read:

“The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has opened criminal proceedings against persons unknown on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and of money laundering in connection with the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 Football World Cups. In the course of said proceedings, electronic data and documents were seized today at FIFA’s head office in Zurich.”

Swiss criminal proceedings, opened by the OAG on 10 March 2015, suspected that irregularities occurred in the allocation of the FIFA World Cups of 2018 and 2022. However, De Gregorio dismissed the suggestion that there should be a revote with a firm no.

Putting a spin on the affair, De Gregorio said that today was a good day for FIFA.

“This is a good day for FIFA in cleaning up our image.

“It is not a nice day, but it's also a good day. The process goes on and we look forward to finding out the results."

More news to follow.

Posted by: Aaron Gourley

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