Following the arrest of FIFA officials on Wednesday, Swiss authorities have opened criminal proceedings against “persons unknown” over alleged illegal activity involving the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Wednesday saw a number of football officials, including FIFA members, arrested in Zurich on suspicion of the “acceptance of bribes and kick-backs between the early 1990s and the present day”, following a request from United States authorities.
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) subsequently confirmed the start of separate proceedings following charges filed by FIFA, with the governing body described as “the injured party”.
A statement read: “The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland has opened criminal proceedings against persons unknown on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and of money laundering in connection with the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 Football World Cups.
“In the course of said proceedings, electronic data and documents were seized today [Wednesday] at FIFA’s head office in Zurich.
“The collection of relevant bank documents had already been ordered beforehand at various financial institutes in Switzerland.
“The files seized today and the collected bank documents will serve criminal proceedings both in Switzerland and abroad.
“In the Swiss criminal proceedings, opened by the OAG on 10 March 2015, it is suspected that irregularities occurred in the allocation of the FIFA World Cups of 2018 and 2022.
“On 18 November 2014, FIFA had filed criminal charges against persons unknown with the OAG. Therefore, the Swiss proceeding is aimed at persons unknown, with FIFA as the injured party.
“With this procedure, the OAG is contributing to the struggle against corrupt behaviour and money laundering.”