Wednesday, May 27th 2015.BMG: According to the Wall Street Journal, nine FIFA officials and five others were indicted early Wednesday by US authorities and Swiss Police in Switzerland for racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracies, among other offenses in connection with participation in a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer.
Details of the accusations will be made available later today by US authorities at a news conference in the US; meanwhile Swiss police have opened up a separate criminal probe relating specifically to Russia and Qatar for being awarded the right to host future World Cups.
“The U.S. and Swiss probes are by far the most far-reaching accusations against the group, formally known as the International Federation of Association Football. The 47-count indictment disclosed by the Justice Department accuses two generations of soccer officials of working with sports marketing executives to shut out competitors and keep lucrative contracts for themselves,” stated the Wall Street Journal.
According to US authorities, marketing executives from the US and South America paid more than $150 million in bribes and kickbacks to FIFA officials to obtain media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments.
Jeffrey Webb, the head of the regional body for North and Central America and the Caribbean (Concacaf) and Jack Warner, his predecessor, were named by US authorities in the disclosure of the charges.
Swiss authorities also arrested Eduardo Li, Julio Rocha, Costas Takkas, Eugenio Figueredo, Rafael Esquivel and Jose Maria Marin.
The Wall Street Journal asserts that “the arrests and probes punctuate long-running allegations of how FIFA decides who hosts the World Cup.”
FIFA was in the midst of its annual meeting and elections when the arrest took place.
It is interesting to note that Dr. Bertie Chirmillo who was the F.F.B. President was a close confidant of Concacaf presidents Jeffrey Webb and Jack Warner and we are yet to see if officials from the Football Federation of Belize are involved in this corruption quagmire that has tarnished the reputation of FIFA, the world’s top governing body of soccer.
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