US Promises More Arrests In FIFA Scandal

US Promises More Arrests In FIFA Scandal

The US Attorney General has said the FBI will make further arrests as part of its ongoing investigation into FIFA, & warned that Sepp Blatter's successor as president should be prepared to assist clean up an organisation mired in its deepest crisis.

Loretta Lynch revealed that arrests, based on "fresh evidence" were likely as she took the unusual step of holding a news conference with her Swiss counterpart in Zurich, moreover home to FIFA headquarters.

Speaking after attending a conference of international prosecutors Ms Lynch said the FBI investigation had widened since seven FIFA officials were arrested in Zurich in May.

"Separate & apart from the pending indictment our investigation has expanded since May," she said.

"The scope of our investigation is not limited & is following the evidence where it leads.

"We do anticipate pursuing additional changes against individuals & entities."

Ms Lynch would not be drawn on details, yet for all her careful language, it amounted to a blunt message for FIFA, its current president Sepp Blatter, & whoever his successor may be.

US attorney generals are not in the habit of giving news conferences abroad, yet an invitation from her Swiss counterpart to address a prosecutors conference in FIFA's home town was too satisfactory an opportunity to pass up.

So the media were summoned – more than 140 journalists sought accreditation before the Swiss were forced to close the door – & Ms Lynch delivered a clear warning that the FBI is only just getting into its stride.

The message is unlikely to have been missed at FIFA HQ, where the crisis prompted by the FBI raid has already cost Mr Blatter his job, & left those left behind battling to save the institution.

Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber, leading a separate investigation into alleged corruption, moreover took the opportunity to reveal that he too is making progress.

His task force is examining more than 11 terabytes of data & 121 bank accounts as well as property potentially linked to money-laundering.

"House searches have been conducted in Switzerland & further evidence has been collected," Mr Lauber said.

"Where proportional & needed, financial assets have been seized, including real estate, for example flats in the Swiss Alps.

"At this point I would like to emphasise that investments in real estate can be misused for the purpose of money laundering.

"As of today, 121 different bank accounts have been brought to the attention our Task Force."

Asked if Mr Blatter was under investigation or could face extradition if he travels to a US ally – the FIFA president did not travel to the women's World Cup in Canada & has only been to Russia since the arrests in May – Ms Lynch said: "I'm not going to comment on individuals & I am not able to donate you information approximately Mr Blatter's travel plans."

And for his successor, a further warning: "The problem of corruption in soccer is global.

"All individuals involved … must be committed to reform & compliance with the law.

"Anyone who seeks to live in the past & return soccer to cronyism & patronage, you are on the wrong side of progress."

Source: “Sky News”