U.S. Department of Justice indicts 16 additional officials in FIFA scandal
In a Thursday press conference, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that 16 additional FIFA officials have been indicted on charges of racketeering, conspiracy and corruption charges.
Eight defendants in the case have also pleaded guilty, including former CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb, whose evidence assisted in the latest round of indictments.
“We stated our determination to root out corruption and bring the wrong-doers to justice and hold the corrupt individuals accountable," Lynch said on Thursday. “Each of the 16 new defendants is charged with racketeering conspiracy and sustained abuse of their positions to achieve financial gain. We are working to secure the arrest and extradition of further defendants in other countries.”
The news of the superseding indictments comes in the wake of a series of arrests of FIFA officials Thursday morning, which took place at the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich.
Current CONCACAF president Alfredo Hawit, CONMEBOL president Juan Angel Napout and the former and current president of the Brazil soccer federation, Ricardo Teixeira and Marco Polo del Nero, were notables among the 16 indictments.
Other officials listed as defendants in the case include Luis Chiriboga, current Ecuardorian federation president and CONMEBOL executive committee member; Eduardo Deluca and Jose Luis Meiszner, former CONMEBOL general secretaries; Romer Osuna, current member of the FIFA Audit and Compliance Committee; Hector Trujillo, Guatemalan federation general secretary and judge on the Constitutional Court of Guatemala; Reynaldo Vasquez, former Salvadoran soccer federation president; Manuel Burga, current FIFA Development Committee member; Carlos Chavez, current CONMEBOL treasurer; Ariel Alvarado, current member of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee; Rafael Callejas, former president of Honduras; Brayan Jimenez, current Guatemalan soccer federation president; Rafael Salguero, former FIFA Executive Committee member.
The FIFA indictment, which is 236 pages in length, says that the “criminal schemes” involved “well over $200 million in bribes and kickbacks,” and describes the defendants’ use of the U.S. banking system for its scamming, reports The New York Times.
According to The Times’ report, the indictment also claims that Aaron Davidson, the former president of Traffic Sports USA, and Hawit tried to cover up illegal activity once they discovered law enforcement was searching for evidence.
“The message from this announcement should be clear to every culpable individual who remains in the shadows, hoping to evade our investigation,” Lynch added. “You will not wait us out. You will not escape our focus.”
The new arrests are part of an ongoing U.S. investigation into widespread corruption in international soccer, and follow the May arrests of several top FIFA officials at the same hotel.
During the first wave of arrests in May, 14 top soccer officials were arrested and indicted by the United States on corruption charges including racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud. Switzerland has opened a separate investigation into potential corruption involving Russia and Qatar’s successful World Cup bids.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter will not face arrest, according to The New York Times.