FIFA charged with 14 indictments of fraud and bribery
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Some of the people who govern the professional soccer world are being accused of bribery and fraud.
There are 14 indictments, but for some people, reactions to the news about these charges is, “What took so long?”
One of the prosecutors called it the World Cup of Fraud.
FIFA sets the rules and controls the money for the most popular sport in the world.
There are rumors about bribes and favoritism.
Now the U.S. Attorney General has to try to prove it.
“They corrupted the business of worldwide soccer to serve their interests and enrich themselves,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
Nine top officials from soccer’s world governing body have been indicted by the U.S. Justice Department.
Five corporate executives were also charged.
“The 47 count indictment against these individuals includes charges of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies spanning two decades,” Lynch said.
Authorities in Switzerland launched their own separate investigation and seized documents from FIFA’s head office.
FIFA’s President, Sepp Blatter, who was not part of the indictments, released a statement saying in part:
“It should be clear that we welcome the actions and the investigations by the U.S. and Swiss authorities and believe that it will help to reinforce measures that FIFA has already taken to root out any wrongdoing in football.”
FIFA has faced a series of scandals and accusations of corruption for years.
The Justice Department will look into whether officials used bribes to influence where the 2010 World Cup would be held as well as bribes to influence the 2011 FIFA presidential election.
“All of these defendants abused the U.S. financial system and violated U.S. law, and we intend to hold,” Lynch said.
The Justice Department said it hopes to extradite those who have been charged, but already some of the defendants are resisting and say they will fight it in court.
Swiss police will also look into how FIFA awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.