The United States on Thursday requested that Switzerland extradites seven detained FIFA officials who were arrested on corruption charges back in May.
Nine past and present FIFA officials were among 14 people indicted on charges of racketeering conspiracy and corruption following a major inquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The seven in question are able to challenge an extradition ruling, so the USA could face a lengthy wait before discovering whether its request will be granted.
And the Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) revealed in a statement on Thursday: “The USA has asked Switzerland to extradite the seven FIFA officials arrested in Zurich. The formal extradition requests were submitted to the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) yesterday evening.
“The seven FIFA officials were arrested in Zurich on 27 May 2015 on the basis of a request from the USA, and detained pending extradition. On 1st July 2015, the US embassy in Bern submitted the formal extradition requests within the deadline laid down in the bilateral extradition treaty.
“The requests are based on the arrest warrants issued on 20 May 2015 by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, which is investigating the high-ranking FIFA officers on suspicion of taking bribes worth over 100 million dollars. In return, those suspected of paying the bribes – representatives of sports media and sports promotion firms – are believed to have received media, marketing and sponsorship rights for soccer tournaments in the United States and in Latin America. These crimes are thought to have been agreed and prepared in the USA, and payments were allegedly routed through US banks.
“Acting for the FOJ, the Zurich Cantonal Police will give the seven FIFA officials a hearing on the extradition requests. The FOJ will then grant the persons concerned, or their lawyers, a period of 14 days in which to respond to the request.
“This time limit may be extended by 14 days if sufficient grounds exist. Drawing on the request, the hearings and the responses of the persons concerned, the FOJ will then rule on extradition within a few weeks. The FOJ’s extradition ruling may be challenged before the Federal Criminal Court, as well as before the Federal Supreme Court, as the ultimate court of appeal.”
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