Switzerland hands over first batch of evidence to American authorities as part of FIFA corruption investigation
Documents relating to bank accounts allegedly used in the corruption scandal within FIFA were among the first batch of evidence to be handed to United States authorities by Switzerland’s Federal Office of Justice (FOJ), it has been announced.
The FOJ claim the accounts could have stored money obtained through bribes in connection with the granting of marketing rights to several tournaments in Latin America and the United States.
They also confirmed they had frozen around $80 million (£54 million/€73 million) in assets in 13 bank accounts, though who the accounts belong to remains unknown.
Authorities in the US have now charged 41 people and entities as part of their corruption investigation, which largely centres on marketing and television deals.
The evidence was handed over following a request from the US.
“Consisting of bank documents, the evidence will be used in criminal proceedings against high-ranking FIFA officials,” the FOJ said in a statement.
“The US authorities can apply to have these assets handed over if they have a legally valid and enforceable seizure ruling from a US court.”
The news marks another step in the ongoing probe into widespread corruption in world football’s governing body after FIFA vice-presidents Alfredo Hawit of Honduras and Juan Angel Napout of Paraguay were among 16 officials indicted by the United States Department of Justice on corruption charges.
Hawit and Napout, former Presidents of CONCACAF and the South American Football Confederation, had been arrested on the morning of a FIFA Executive Committee meeting in Zurich earlier this month, throwing the governing body even further into turmoil.
The FOJ handing evidence over to the American authorities came after former FIFA vice-president Eugenio Figueredo was accused of receiving £33,000 ($49,000/€45,000) in bribes each month.
The 83-year-old, who spent Christmas Day in jail, is alleged to have been the recipient of “improper payments” from television companies and sports marketing firms.
Uruguayan prosecutors claim the former President of South American football’s governing body CONMBEOL, who also headed his country’s Football Association, exploited his positions by taking money from the organisations striving to hold onto their contracts, which were awarded by CONMBEOL, for South American competitions.
By Liam Morgan; this article was republished with permission from the original publisher Inside the Games www.insidethegames.biz