Two FIFA VPs Arrested For Money Laundering & More
The U.S. Department of Justice has indicted an additional 16 worldwide soccer officials on various corruption charges, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced at a news conference Thursday.
Rafael Callejas, Honduras’ president from 1990-94 and a current member of FIFA’s television and marketing committee, was indicted, as was Hector Trujillo, a judge on Guatemala’s Constitutional Court.
With the arrests of the two officials, three consecutive presidents of both CONCACAF and CONMEBOL have all been indicted on corruption and conspiracy charges. “CONCACAF continues to cooperate with all government authorities in their investigations to the fullest extent”, the Miami-based governing body said in a statement.
He, his deputy Jerome Valcke and European soccer boss Michel Platini have all been suspended by an internal ethics watchdog. The US department of justice indictments disclose that disgraced former Federation Internationale de Football Association vice-president Jack Warner and his successor Jeffrey Webb – who has pleaded guilty to seven charges – siphoned off development and relief money destined for the very poorest countries in their Caribbean confederation.
Webb, who partly grew up in Tampa and lived in the Atlanta area, had served as a vice president and executive committee member for the worldwide soccer organization, FIFA, which is at the center of the bribery scandal. “One defendant is the chief of FIFA’s disciplinary committee, who is charged with stamping out the corrupt behavior in which he is now thought to be involved”.
The arrests came as FIFA’s leaders descended on Zurich to discuss proposals aimed at reforming world football’s governing body as it reels from the worst crisis in its history. Blatter was not a target in the latest round of arrests.
The former head of Panama’s federation, Ariel Alvarado, was among those charged, according to the indictment, as was Reynaldo Vasquez, former football federation president of El Salvador. Without specifying them by name, the indictments said most presidents of the 10 South American federations would receive $1.5 million in bribes from marketing company Datisa in exchange for control of the Copa America.
Swiss authorities said Thursday’s arrests were related to alleged offences agreed and prepared in the United States and involving payments processed by USA banks, which were not named.
Modernizing changes supported Thursday include taking many decision-making powers from the executive panel, to be renamed the FIFA Council, with more men and women members.
The Times reported that several of the officials were from South and Central America and were suspected of involvement in racketeering, money laundering, and fraud.
More than 12 indictments are expected to be announced by the US Department of Justice. Carrard told reporters that the panel had scrapped an idea for a 74-year age limit for senior officials, calling it “arbitrary”.