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Top FIFA Officials Arrested on Corruption Charges

Top FIFA Officials Arrested on Corruption ChargesTop FIFA Officials Arrested on Corruption Charges

Several top FIFA officials have been arrested in Switzerland over allegations they were involved in paying bribes adding up to more than $100m.

Swiss authorities detained six officials in an early-morning operation in Zurich on suspicion of receiving and paying bribes, AP reported.

The arrests were carried out in order to extradite the officials to the United States, the Swiss government said.

US officials suspect the crimes were agreed to and prepared in the US, and payments carried out via US banks, said the Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ).

The FOJ said the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York is investigating the individuals on suspicion of accepting bribes and kick-backs between the early 1990s and now.

Switzerland’s justice ministry said in a statement: “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 (FIFA delegates) and other functionaries of FIFA sub-organizations - totaling more than $100 million.”

  Tournaments Probed

The statement said the investigation was into allegations involving tournaments in Latin America and the US.

One of those detained in Zurich was FIFA Vice-President and north and central American and Caribbean football association head Jeffrey Webb.

Others held include Costa Rica soccer federation president Eduardo Li, who was elected to FIFA’s executive committee in March.

The officials were in Switzerland ahead of an election which was expected to see FIFA President Sepp Blatter reinstated for a fifth term. FIFA told AP that Blatter was not among the men arrested.

A total of 14 people were expected to be arrested in total as part of the investigation. This includes a mixture of FIFA officials and non-FIFA sports marketing executives.

Zurich police said the detainees will be questioned and then will be asked whether they are prepared to be extradited. Any who refuse will force the US to submit a formal extradition request within 40 days.