Switzerland’s Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) has confirmed that six football officials were arrested in Zurich on Wednesday following a request by United States authorities.
A statement on the FOJ’s website declared the “delegates of FIFA and other functionaries of FIFA sub-organisations” are alleged to have accepted bribes that may total in excess of $100million.
The FOJ revealed that the six detainees will be questioned by Zurich’s local police, with an extradition date yet to be agreed upon.
“The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York is investigating these individuals on suspicion of the acceptance of bribes and kick-backs between the early 1990s and the present day,” the FOJ’s statement read.
“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 (Federation Internationale de Football Association) and other functionaries of FIFA sub-organisations – totalling more than USD 100 million.
“In return, it is believed that they received media, marketing, and sponsorship rights in connection with soccer tournaments in Latin America. According to the US request, these crimes were agreed and prepared in the US, and payments were carried out via US banks.”
The statement explained that extradition would be dependent on each individual detainee’s response.
“A simplified procedure will apply for wanted persons who agree to their immediate extradition. The FOJ can immediately approve their extradition to the US and order its execution,” it added.
“However, if a wanted person opposes their extradition, the FOJ will invite the US to submit a formal extradition request within the deadline of 40 days specified in the bilateral extradition treaty.”
FIFA officials are in Zurich for the FIFA congress and presidential vote, which is expected to be held on Saturday.