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US asks Switzerland to extradite seven Fifa officials

2019-10-08 点击次数 :206次

The US has asked to extradite seven Fifa officials arrested on corruption charges in dawn raids in May, according to Swiss authorities.

The officials – who include vice-presidents Jeffrey Webb and Eugenio Figueredo – may face months in detention while the requests are processed. The Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) said they can take legal challenges to extradition all the way to the Swiss supreme court.

The men are being held in separate detention facilities around Zurich and are permitted only one visit a week, according to a source close to one of the detainees. The executives, who were arrested at a five-star hotel in Zurich on 27 May, two days before a key Fifa congress, have been charged with “rampant, systemic and deep-rooted” corruption.

In what the FBI called a “World Cup of shame”, they are accused of receiving bribes totalling $100m (£65m) in return for awarding contracts for media, marketing and sponsorship rights to football tournaments in the US and Latin America. The payments are said to have been routed through American banks.

Jeffrey Webb. Photograph: Szilard Koszticsak/epa/Corbis

The charges resulted from an FBI inquiry into football’s world governing body, and the indictment says the men could face up to 20 years in jail if found guilty by a US court.

A 47-count indictment unveiled in a US federal court in New York charges 14 defendants with racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracies in what it describes as “the defendants’ participation in a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer”.

Fifa’s outgoing president has not been arrested and is not among the men facing extradition, but he is reportedly under investigation by the FBI. Days after the arrests he was re-elected to a fifth term, but less than a week later he announced he would lay down his mandate at an extraordinary congress expected to take place early next year.

A statement from the Swiss FOJ said: “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 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 1 July 2015, the US embassy in Berne submitted the formal extradition requests within the deadline laid down in the bilateral extradition treaty.

Sepp Blatter. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA

“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 $100m.” The FOJ said Zurich police would give the seven Fifa officials a hearing over the extradition requests.

The seven officials are:

  • Jeffrey Webb, Fifa vice-president and former Concacaf president, and a British passport holder from the Cayman Islands.
  • Eugenio Figueredo, Fifa vice-president and former Conmebol president from Uruguay.
  • Eduardo Li, due to be elected to Fifa’s executive committee, and Costa Rica’s FA president.
  • Julio Rocha, Fifa development officer and president of Nicaragua’s FA.
  • Costas Takkas, attache to the Concacaf president, and a British passport holder.
  • Rafael Esquivel, Conmebol executive committee member and Venezuela’s FA president.
  • José Maria Marin, former president of the Brazilian FA.

The US justice department has indicted 18 people as part of its investigation. Four have pleaded guilty to corruption charges, including former Fifa executive member , who has admitted taking a bribe to vote for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup.

The Swiss authorities are leading a separate investigation into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. is in charge of organising football’s major tournaments, including the World Cup, which takes place every four years.

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