The United States Justice Department has unsealed an indictment charging nine current and former FIFA officials for what it called "widespread corruption" during the past two decades. The charges are part of a lengthy DOJ investigation that includes sealed guilty pleas from former CONCACAF general secretary Chuck Blazer, as well as the sons of former CONCACAF president and FIFA vice president Jack Warner
The indictments include nine current and former FIFA executives are facing indictment, and those living abroad could be extradited to the United States. FIFA president Sepp Blatter is not among those being charged. That doesn't, however, mean there won't be impact on Blatter, who is up for reelection for a fifth term as FIFA president this week.
The list of FIFA officials indicted from the DOJ release:
Jeffrey Webb: Current FIFA vice president and executive committee member, CONCACAF president, 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. 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 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. Former CBF president.
Nicolás Leoz: Former FIFA executive committee member and CONMEBOL president.
Four of the defendants were sports marketing executives:
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 and Mariano Jinkis: Controlling principals of Full Play Group S.A., a sports marketing business based in Argentina, and its affiliates.
Among other activities, the charges stem from corruption involving World Cup bids, marketing and broadcast deals, according to official sources. The investigation covered years of alleged corrupt activity, with the Justice Department working with law enforcement in Switzerland to coordinate arrests. That process has already begun.
"We're struck by just how long this went on for and how it touched nearly every part of what FIFA. did," a law enforcement official said, via the New York Times. "It just seemed to permeate every element of the federation and was just their way of doing business. It seems like this corruption was institutionalized."
This is hardly the first time FIFA officials have come under scrutiny for corrupt activity. The organization was heavily criticized for its activity in the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Former FIFA Executive Committee member Chuck Blazer has also has also been accused of widespread corruption.
According to the Department of Justice release, Blazer pled guilty to 10 counts of various corruption charges in Nov. 2013. Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner's sons also pled guilty to wire fraud and racketeering charges in 2013. These, along with other guilty pleas, were kept under seal until the DOJ indictment on Wednesday morning.
FIFA also released a statement in response to the arrests on Wednesday morning saying, in part:
"We are pleased to see that the investigation is being energetically pursued for the good of football and believe that it will help to reinforce measures that FIFA has already taken."
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