The investigation into corruption at FIFA has been expanded and further charges are anticipated, US attorney general Loretta Lynch has revealed.
The world game’s governing body was rocked in May when 14 officials, nine of whom had current or previous links to FIFA, including former vice-president Jack Warner, were indicted on racketeering and money laundering charges.
Lynch explained huge volumes of evidence had already been gathered, while Michael Lauber – the attorney general of Switzerland who is running a separate investigation – said house searches had taken place and some financial assets had been seized as part of the investigation, including properties in the Swiss Alps.
“I am grateful for the significant co-operation and substantial evidence that we have received from all quarters,” said Lynch, who refused to confirm whether outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter was under suspicion.
“The scope of our investigation is not limited. We are following all the evidence where it leads and we do anticipate pursuing additional changes against individuals and entities.
“[The investigation] exposed high-ranking officials of FIFA; leaders of regional and other governing bodies under the FIFA umbrella; and sports marketing executives who, according to the indictment, paid millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks to obtain lucrative media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments.
“Our message is clear: no individual is impervious to the law. No corrupt organisation is beyond its reach. And no criminal act can evade the concerted efforts of dedicated men and women fighting for justice.”
Lauber added in his statement that 121 bank accounts were under observation and that major Swiss banks were playing their part in scrutinising suspicious transactions.
Both attorney generals stressed the enormous amount of evidence meant the investigation was a time consuming process – Lauber explained it was currently at “half-time” – but the huge public interest prompted Tuesday’s update.
It was also confirmed Swiss authorities are still analysing FIFA’s explanation over the sale of TV rights for the South Africa and Brazil World Cups to Warner – a Swiss newspaper at the weekend showed Blatter’s signature on the documents – for what market experts claim was a fraction of their actual worth.