At least 6 top Fifa officials have been arrested on corruption charges this-morning police operation in Zurich.More than a 12 plain-clothed officers descended on the plush 5star Baur au Lac hotel on Wednesday in an early morning operation.
The Associated Press quoting Swiss officials said 6people had been arrested in Zurich under suspicion of getting or paying bribes. But the Guardian understands as many as 15 people worldwide may have been taken into custody.
The Swiss Federal Office of Justice said those arrested in Zurich were pending extradition at the request of US authorities.
In a statement the FOJ said US authorities suspect the officials of having received or having paid bribes totalling millions of dollars.
It said the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York is investigating these individuals on of kick-backs between the early 1990s and now.
The charges stem from a joint investigation by the FBI and US tax authorities that has been ongoing since at least 2011, according to the New York Daily News website.
Not all of the officials are believed to be in Zurich at present. But it was reported that Sepp Blatter, the president of Fifa, is not one of those arrested in the morning raids.
An announcement is expected to be made in New York on Wednesday morning.
In November last year, Fifa’s ethics committee closed its investigation into the controversial bidding process that saw Qatar named as host of the 2022 World Cup, ruling that any breaches of the rules were only of “very limited scope”
The decision to award Qatar the tournament was hugely controversial, prompting an avalanche of allegations about the way it won the bid and concerns about the searing heat in which it would be played and the treatment of migrant workers building the infrastructure underpinning it.
But Fifa said an investigation did not find any direct link between the World Cup bid and illicit payments made by the disgraced former Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed bin Hammam, a Qatari who was banned for life for paying bribes during a campaign to unseat Blatter as president…