The Swiss justice ministry has frozen millions in connection with FIFA, world football’s governing body. The news comes as FIFA ethics committee hearings kicked off in Zurich on Thursday.
“US authorities asked for documents related to 50 accounts at different banks, through which corruption money is supposed to have transited,” ministry spokesman Folco Galli said in a statement on Thursday, confirming a report by Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger.
As Galli told the Swiss News Agency, a “high double-digit million amount” had been frozen following the US query. The Tages-Anzeiger reported that it could be CHF50-100 million ($50-101 million).
Thursday also marked the start of hearings related to the corruption charges filed against suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter and his deputy Michel Platini. The Swiss Attorney General is investigating a CHF2 million payment made by FIFA to Platini in 2011.
Blatter is scheduled to appear at FIFA headquarters in Zurich on Thursday; Platini on Friday, though he has said that he won’t appear. Both men have denied any wrongdoing.
“The plaintiffs have accused me of giving Platini money not for a job already done, but rather to get something. But what? That had nothing to do with the FIFA presidential election in 2011,” Blatter told the conservative Swiss news magazine Die Weltwoche in its December 17th edition. Die Weltwoche has named Blatter “Swiss of the Year”.