US prosecutor warns ‘no individual is above the law’ in Fifa inquiry

 The US prosecutor who sent Fifa into meltdown in May has warned that “no individual is above the law” as the investigation into world football’s governing body continues.

In a speech in Zurich, close to the Bauer au Lac hotel where Swiss police dramatically arrested seven Fifa officials in May, the US attorney general, Loretta Lynch, hailed the spirit of co-operation between US and Swiss law enforcement agencies.

“In the United States, that investigation resulted in charges including racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies spanning two decades,” Lynch said.

“It exposed high-ranking officials of Fifa; leaders of regional and other governing bodies under the Fifa umbrella; and sports marketing executives who, according to the indictment, paid millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks to obtain lucrative media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments.” Under what was labelled a “World Cup of fraud” 14 individuals, including nine current or former Fifa executives, were indicted and are facing trial. Another four individuals have pleaded guilty.

Lynch’s appearance alongside the Swiss attorney general, Michael Lauber, comes as Sepp Blatter, forced by the revelations to announce he would stand down as the president of Fifa, has been drawn further into the sights of investigators.

New evidence has revealed he signed a 2005 agreement to sell World Cup TV rights to the disgraced former Fifa official Jack Warner for less than their market value. Blatter has insisted he is “clean”, saying: “I have my conscience and I know I’m an honest man. I am clean. I am not a worried man.”

Lynch said: “We made it abundantly clear once again that prosecutors around the world will stand together in order to root out corruption and bring wrongdoers to justice – no matter where they are, no matter how complex their crimes and no matter how powerful they may be.

“Our message is clear: no individual is impervious to the law. No corrupt organisation is beyond its reach. And no criminal act can evade the concerted efforts of dedicated men and women fighting for justice.

“This is an issue that concerns us all – because whether in a nation or an organisation, whether committed by public officials or private citizens, corruption undermines our values, diminishes confidence in our institutions and shakes the foundations of our global society.” CNN

Swiss prosecutors are investigating the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively and have identified 81 suspicious transactions.

The US prosecutor who sent Fifa into meltdown in May has warned that “no individual is above the law” as the investigation into world football’s governing body continues.

In a speech in Zurich, close to the Bauer au Lac hotel where Swiss police dramatically arrested seven Fifa officials in May, the US attorney general, Loretta Lynch, hailed the spirit of co-operation between US and Swiss law enforcement agencies.

“In the United States, that investigation resulted in charges including racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies spanning two decades,” Lynch said.

“It exposed high-ranking officials of Fifa; leaders of regional and other governing bodies under the Fifa umbrella; and sports marketing executives who, according to the indictment, paid millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks to obtain lucrative media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments.”

Under what was labelled a “World Cup of fraud” 14 individuals, including nine current or former Fifa executives, were indicted and are facing trial. Another four individuals have pleaded guilty.

Lynch’s appearance alongside the Swiss attorney general, Michael Lauber, comes as Sepp Blatter, forced by the revelations to announce he would stand down as the president of Fifa, has been drawn further into the sights of investigators.

New evidence has revealed he signed a 2005 agreement to sell World Cup TV rights to the disgraced former Fifa official Jack Warner for less than their market value. Blatter has insisted he is “clean”, saying: “I have my conscience and I know I’m an honest man. I am clean. I am not a worried man.”

Lynch said: “We made it abundantly clear once again that prosecutors around the world will stand together in order to root out corruption and bring wrongdoers to justice – no matter where they are, no matter how complex their crimes and no matter how powerful they may be.

“Our message is clear: no individual is impervious to the law. No corrupt organisation is beyond its reach. And no criminal act can evade the concerted efforts of dedicated men and women fighting for justice.

“This is an issue that concerns us all – because whether in a nation or an organisation, whether committed by public officials or private citizens, corruption undermines our values, diminishes confidence in our institutions and shakes the foundations of our global society.”

Swiss prosecutors are investigating the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively and have identified 81 suspicious transactions.-CNN

 

 

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