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Football takedown Justice department announces more FIFA charges

Zurich's Hotel Baur au Lac was once again the site of early-morning arrests on December 3 ahead of a FIFA executive committee meeting


The United States Justice Department has announced charges against 16 additional world football officials after further arrests took place on Thursday in Zurich. 

Those charged include five current and former members of FIFA’s executive committee, which met later in the day to announce reforms to the football world governing body. In total, nearly a dozen people who have served on that committee have now been charged with corruption, racketeering and conspiracy.

“The betrayal of trust set forth here is truly outrageous,” United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch said of the latest charges against FIFA executives, which nearly doubled the scope of the Justice Department's case against the organisation.

In the Justice Department’s original indictment against seven FIFA officials in May, it alleged that they had conspired to solicit and receive hundreds of billions of dollars in bribes and contracts. According to Lynch, Thursday’s charges “highlight corruption schemes in Central and South America and sports marketing companies based in South America and the United States”.

“They involve payments related to tournaments that have already been played, as well as matches scheduled into the next decade,” Lynch continued. “They also involve a bribery scheme relating to nearly all top officials and a marketing scheme to rob Central American soccer officials."

Among those charged on Thursday were Marco Polo del Nero of Brazil, who served on the executive committee from 2012 until last week; Guatamalen Rafael Salguero, who left the executive committee in May; former South American confederation secretary general Eduardo Deluca; former president of the Peruvian soccer federation Manuel Burga; and the current Bolivian soccer president Carlos Chaves, who is already behind bars in Bolivia.

Lynch also said the United States would seek to extradite Juan Angel Napout of Paraguay and Alfredo Hawit of Honduras following their arrests in Zurich Thursday morning at the Baur au Lac hotel. 

According to US officials, eight defendants in the corruption investigation have now plead guilty to the charges. They include former CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb and former executive committee member Luis Bedoya.

Lynch also thanked Swiss authorities who she said had been “instrumental” in bringing FIFA officials to justice.

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