Six football officials were arrested in Zurich in the early hours of Wednesday on suspicion of receiving bribes worth millions of dollars, Swiss authorities said. The arrests were made at the request of US officials investigating corruption charges.
“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-organisations – totaling more than $100-million,” the Swiss justice ministry said in a statement.
The New York Times reported that Fifa officials were among those arrested.
The officials, part of international soccer’s top body, face extradition to the US following their arrest at an expensive Swiss hotel, the paper said.
More than 10 officials are to be charged with “wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering” in New York by the Department of Justice.
The charges are a major challenge for Fifa that comes as its head Sepp Blatter looks to secure a fifth term in a Friday vote. The organisation has been dogged by bribery allegations.
Blatter, a powerful figure in sports, is not a target of the US case, The New York Times reported.
In May, Blatter denied he was a target of an FBI corruption investigation.
The denial came after an ESPN television documentary said the Swiss official stayed away from the US over a FIFA investigation. – AFP