ZURICH — In an extraordinary early-morning operation conducted by Swiss authorities here on Wednesday, several top soccer officials were arrested on corruption charges and are extradited to the United States.
Soon after the leaders of the soccer’s global governing body, FIFA, assembled for their annual meeting, more than a dozen simple clothed Swiss law enforcement officials arrived unexpectedly at the five-star property. They like normal people, headed to the front desk, took keys and continued their way to upstairs for their rooms.
With at least two men being escorted out without any handcuff, the arrests were carried out quietly.
Eduardo Li of Costa Rica, one of the key officials of FIFA was taken by the authorities through a side door exit of the hotel from his room, while he was permitted to pick his luggage that was decked with FIFA logos.
The charges against all the arrested men claimed of extensive corruption in FIFA for more than two decades that also involved bids for World Cup, marketing deals and broadcast deals, informed three law enforcement officials boasting clear facts about the matter.
The key charges against the accused include wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering, while the officials stated that they targeted the members of FIFA’s influential executive committee that enjoys big power and usually carries out its business in deep secret.
The arrest made early today is a shocking blow to FIFA, a multibillion-dollar organization that administers the most popular sport of the world but is reported to be weighed down by charges of corruption for several years.
Even though he is not charged, but this inquiry is a big threat to FIFA’s longtime President, Sepp Blatter who is generally known as one of the most powerful men in sports.
No immediate comments from the Justice Department, FBI and FIFA have come so far in the case that is most significant still for the United States Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch. She took over the charge in office last month and until that time; she served as the United States attorney in Brooklyn, where she administered the FIFA probe.