More arrests possible in FIFA corruption probe

US authorities have expanded their investigation while Swiss officials seize property and flats in the Swiss Alps.

    US authorities have expanded their investigations into corruption within world football's governing body FIFA and expect to file additional criminal charges, according to US Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

    Seven high-ranking FIFA officials were arrested ahead of the football governing body's meeting in May this year.

    Swiss authorities had launched a separate criminal investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups that are set to be held in Russia and Qatar.

    FIFA President Sepp Blatter won a fifth term but announced just four days later that he was standing down.

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    "What I can say is that, separate and apart from the pending indictment, our investigation remains active and ongoing, and has in fact expanded since May," Lynch said at a news conference alongside Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber.

    "Based upon that cooperation [with Swiss authorities] and new evidence, we do anticipate pursuing additional charges against individuals and entities."

    Lynch did not comment Monday on whether Blatter is targeted.

    In a separate investigation of money laundering in World Cup bidding, Swiss federal agencies have seized properties in the Swiss Alps.

    Lauber said houses were also searched in western Switzerland and evidence was seized before adding that 121 different bank accounts have been reported as suspicious by a Swiss financial intelligence unit.

    The Swiss investigation, added Lauber, had not yet reached the halfway mark and his office had continued to build up its mountain of seized data. His office has so far gathered around 11 terabytes of electronic data.

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

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

    However, he said he was surprised at an apparent lack of interest from authorities abroad.

    "Since we opened our criminal case against unknown persons, almost no foreign jurisdiction has requested mutual legal assistance so far," he said, adding that he did not include the US in his comment.

    "One can only speculate why this is and how it is."

    Earlier this month, FIFA reformer Domenico Scala went public with his proposals to clean up football's governing body, proposing term limits, tougher integrity checks on officials and fewer committees as part of a far-reaching eight-point plan.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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