Who Is Being Charged With FIFA Corruption? There Are Several Top Names Being Accused
The soccer world — and I do mean, globally — has been hit with the biggest news for its governing body. The U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday unsealed an indictment against top FIFA executives on federal corruption charges, which allegedly involves bribes totaling more than $100 million. But already in the early morning hours in Switzerland, seven FIFA officials were arrested at a Zurich hotel, according to the Swiss government. The indictment names 14 people on charges that include racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering, but who exactly is being charged with FIFA corruption?
The soccer officials named include some of the organization's top executives, though it was unclear who exactly was detained in Switzerland. The arrests reportedly went quietly with at least one official being allowed to take his luggage, according to The New York Times. FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who has long fielded accusations of corruption within the organization during his tenure, is believed to have not been named in the indictment. The Justice Department released all 14 names Wednesday, which include:
- Jeffrey Webb: Current FIFA vice president and executive committee member, president of CONCACAF (North and Central America and the Caribbean's football authority), Caribbean Football Union (CFU) executive committee member, and Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) president
- Eduardo Li: Current FIFA executive committee member-elect, CONCACAF executive committee member and Costa Rican soccer federation (FEDEFUT) president
- Julio Rocha: Current FIFA development officer, former Central American Football Union (UNCAF) president, and Nicaraguan soccer federation (FENIFUT) president
- Costas Takkas: Current attaché to the CONCACAF president and former CIFA general secretary
- Jack Warner: Former FIFA vice president and executive committee member, CONCACAF president, CFU president, and Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) special adviser
- Eugenio Figueredo: Current FIFA vice president and executive committee member, former CONMEBOL (South America's football authority) president, and Uruguayan soccer federation (AUF) president
- Rafael Esquivel: Current CONMEBOL executive committee member and Venezuelan soccer federation (FVF) president
- José Maria Marin: Current member of the FIFA organizing committee for the Olympic football tournaments and former CBF president
- Nicolás Leoz: Former FIFA executive committee member and CONMEBOL president
Several sports-marketing executives were also named in the indictment:
- Alejandro Burzaco: Controlling principal of Torneos y Competencias S.A., a sports marketing business based in Argentina, and its affiliates
- Aaron Davidson: President of Traffic Sports USA Inc. (Traffic USA)
- Hugo Jinkis and Mariano Jinkis: Controlling principals of Full Play Group S.A., a sports marketing business based in Argentina, and its affiliates.
Another defendant allegedly served as an intermediary to facilitate payments between marketing executives and FIFA officials:
- José Margulies: Controlling principal of Valente Corp. and Somerton Ltd.
The alleged deals, which reportedly date back two decades, involved World Cup bids and marketing and broadcasting rights, according to The New York Times. The arrests are unprecedented in FIFA's history, which has long been marred with scandals. There's already chatter that more names could emerge in the coming days. Electronic data from FIFA's headquarters in Zurich were also seized by Swiss authorities Wednesday. The Swiss Federal Office of Justice also announced it is questioning 10 people who took part in the controversial voting that awarded Russia and Qatar the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
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