U.S. Prosecutors Just Hit More FIFA Officials With a Massive New Indictment
This adds to the arrests made in May.
International soccer’s governing body is apparently still riddled with the cancer of corruption. On Thursday, the Dept. of Justice revealed a new, 92-count indictment that accused 16 FIFA officials of scheming to net a walloping $200 million in bribes. Bloomberg News and the BBC reported eight defendants from a September indictment had already pleaded guilty.
In a live-blog about the newest indictments, the BBC quoted the IRS’s Chief of Investigation, Richard Weber, who said it was “a good day for soccer fans” and that long history of FIFA corruption sussed out by American investigators revealed that within the governing body, “good intent has been replaced by greed and misguided goals.”
“This case has been nothing short of one of the most complex, worldwide financial investigations ever conducted,” continued Weber, and it “breached” the US financial system.
FBI assistant director Diego Rodriguez also said, according to the BBC:
We have found evidence of newly-alleged criminal activity more recently carried out by those whose greedy impulses won out over common sense.
No one is beyond the reach of the law – even though soccer is a game to many it is merely a business enterprise to those profiting from the athletes and the fans.
Along with our partners we uphold our promise to root out corruption in its many forms.
During a question and answer session with the media, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch was asked about arresting officials in countries that don’t have extradition treaties with the United States. “We have extradition treaties with number of these countries and some we do not but that does not preclude that we may ultimately obtain those defendants in a U.S. courtroom,” said Lynch.
Scamming FIFA officials were already on notice after the rounds of arrests in May. Now they know: U.S. investigators won’t let up until they’ve rooted out every fat cat who’s been illegally tapping the cash cow of soccer’s intense and global popularity.
Photos by Philipp Schmidli / Getty Images Sport