More Charges as FIFA Inquiry Widens

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The investigation into corruption and bribery in soccer that in May rocked the sport’s multibillion-dollar governing body, FIFA, metastasized on Thursday when United States officials unsealed a new indictment that alleged an even more extensive network of criminal behavior across dozens of countries and involved some of the most powerful people in international soccer.

Sixteen new defendants were identfied, with charges including wire fraud, money laundering and racketeering, aimed almost entirely at individuals from Central and South America. Among them were a former president of Honduras, a judge on the Constitutional Court of Guatemala and the current and former presidents of Brazil’s national soccer federation.

Some defendants, federal officials said, participated in bribes involving broadcasting rights for major soccer matches. Others had obstructed justice by trying to hide their actions after finding out that they were under investigation.

About 14 hours before the indictment was unsealed, Swiss authorities conducted predawn arrests in the broad investigation, led by United States officials — notably the United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York, the New York field office of the F.B.I. and the I.R.S. By day’s end, a huge case that has upended FIFA had nearly doubled in size.

Some of the arrests took place at the same luxury hotel where other FIFA officials were arrested in May. The Swiss police entered the hotel, the Baur au Lac, through a side door at 6 a.m. local time. A hotel manager told visitors in the lobby they had to leave the property because of “an extreme situation.”

The 16 new defendants were: Alfredo Hawit; Ariel Alvarado; Rafael Callejas; Brayan Jiménez; Rafael Salguero; Héctor Trujillo; Reynaldo Vasquez; Juan Ángel Napout; Manuel Burga; Carlos Chávez; Luís Chiriboga; Marco Polo del Nero; Eduardo Deluca; José Luis Meiszner; Romer Osuna; Ricardo Teixeira.

Mr. Callejas is the former president of Honduras. Mr. Trujillo is the judge. Mr. del Nero and Mr. Teixeira are the current and former presidents of Brazil’s federation.

Mr. Hawit is the president of Concacaf, the regional confederation that includes North and Central America and the Caribbean. Mr. Napout is the president of Conmebol, the South American confederation. Both are FIFA vice presidents and members of the organization’s governing executive committee.

Hours before the Justice Department disclosed that he too was indicted, Mr. Callejas, the president of Honduras in the early 1990s and former general secretary of the nation’s soccer federation, denied he was implicated and voiced regret that Mr. Hawit was implicated in the case.

GRAPHIC

16 More Soccer Officials Face Corruption Charges

More soccer officials were arrested Thursday morning in the continuing case of widespread corruption in international soccer. In May, 14 other high-ranking officials were indicted. This second round of indictments included five current or former FIFA vice presidents.

Click here to view graphic

NYT

 

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More Charges as FIFA Inquiry Widens

by NYT time to read: 2 min
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