May 20, 2018

Investigators seize assets of FIFA officals under probe

Investigators seize assets of FIFA officals under probe

Apartments in the Alps are among assets seized in a probe into alleged corruption at Fifa, Switzerland’s attorney general said on Monday, warning that the inquiry had not yet reached “halftime”.

Switzerland began its investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in May, when the US justice department unsealed charges against 14 people accused of massive graft over decades within world football. Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber, speaking alongside his US counterpart Loretta Lynch, said his wide-ranging investigation was nowhere near complete.

“Financial assets have been seized, including real estate… in the Swiss Alps,” Lauber told reporters in Zurich, adding that investigators had also searched homes, confiscated masses of electronic data and scrutinised 121 bank accounts. “Clearly, we are not even near the halftime break,” he said.

Swiss authorities have not yet named any individuals who could ultimately be subject to criminal charges.

Fifa’s ethics chief Dominic Scala said in June that it was possible that Russia and Qatar – awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups respectively – could be stripped of their hosting rights if there was clear evidence that bribes were paid in the bidding process. Read more

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