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Initial delivery Swiss hand over evidence in FIFA inquiry

A graphic called Sports Marketing Bribery Scheme was displayed by the US authorities in Brooklyn last May

(Keystone)

The Federal Office of Justice says has handed over the first batch of evidence to the United States authorities as part of an investigation into alleged bribery schemes for football marketing rights.

The office said the documents relate to bank accounts allegedly used by officials of the world football’s governing body (FIFA) to grant promotion and advertising rights for football tournaments in Latin America and the US.

“Consisting of bank documents, the evidence will be used in criminal proceedings against high-ranking FIFA officials,” a statement external linksaid on Wednesday.

Over the past year, Washington filed requests for legal assistance concerning about 50 accounts in ten different banks.

To date, the office has issued five partial final rulings, and more will others will follow, according to Swiss officials.

The US authorities also requested the handover of records relating to the criminal proceedings against FIFA officials, the statement said. The cases were suspended in 2010.

In addition, the Swiss authorities agreed to the presence of US officials when extensive criminal records were triaged.

Frozen

The Swiss authorities say they have frozen around $80 million (CHF79 million) in assets in 13 bank accounts following a US request for legal assistance in May. These assets will remain frozen until legal assistance proceedings have been concluded.

US prosecutors have indicted 27 current or former FIFA football officials over allegations that they ran bribery schemes connected to the sale of television rights for soccer competitions.

Extradition

Three of the nine FIFA officials arrested in Zürich in May and December agreed to simplified proceedings for their extradition to the US.

Two others were handed over to authorities in the US and in Uruguay respectively, after the suspects withdrew their appeals, the justice office said.

Four officials still oppose their extradition. Extradition rulings are still pending before the Federal Criminal Court.

Two separate legal investigations are underway in the US and in Switzerland.

While the US authorities focus on marketing and sponsoring rights for football tournaments in the Americas, the Swiss justice authorities are examining the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup to Russia and Qatar respectively.

The Swiss have also opened an investigation into FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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