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Switzerland: FIFA to cooperate with US investigation says acting pres. Hayatou02:43

Switzerland: FIFA to cooperate with US investigation says acting pres. Hayatou

Switzerland, Zurich
December 3, 2015 at 22:58 GMT +00:00 · Published

FIFA will cooperate with the US authorities during their investigation of 12 of the body’s officials, FIFA President Issa Hayatou speaking during the press conference held in Zurich, Thursday, adding that he would make limited comments on the incidents.

Hayatou said that "the US justice department has recently proceeded into a series of arrests as part of an ongoing investigation. FIFA continues to fully cooperate in the American investigation, as it is authorised by the Swiss legislation, as well as the investigation conducted by the public ministry of the Swiss confederation" adding that "FIFA won't make any other comment."

A US-led investigation into the FIFA corruption scandal has resulted in the arrests of more than 12 officials, at least some of which took place at the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich. FIFA spokespeople have confirmed that “action” was taken by US authorities.

The Zurich hotel, raided for a second time in 2015, was where a group of high-ranking FIFA officials and representatives were arrested in May as the US-led crackdown began. Until Tuesday, a total of 14 officials had been indicted by the US.

According to reports, CONCACAF President and Honduran Alfredo Hawit and CONMEBOL President Juan Angel Napout of Paraguay were among those detained on Thursday.

Hawit, who leads the footballing confederation from North and Central America and Caribbean countries, took up his post in May after his predecessor, Jeffrey Web, was arrested in the initial police operation. Napout oversees the South American confederation and has been in the post on a permanent basis since March 2015 following a six month interim stint. Both Hawit and Napout are vice-presidents of FIFA.

Witnesses report that the hotel closed its front gates after a group of at least four people, believed to be plain clothes police officers, entered the complex. Another group of officers are said to have accessed the building from the rear. Some 30 minutes later, two cars with blacked-out windows were seen departing the hotel’s garage but it is uncertain as to who was inside at this stage.

The arrests are in line with a September statement made by US Attorney General Loretta Lynch in which she said that she anticipated more arrests being made in the future.

FIFA officials were gathering for a two-day meeting in Zurich to discuss potential reforms to the leadership and running of the body ahead of the February congress at which incumbent President Sepp Blatter is expected to be replaced. Blatter, Secretary General of FIFA Jerome Valcke and President of UEFA Michel Platini, a candidate who was hoping to succeed Blatter, were banned for 90 days by the FIFA ethics committee in October.

Just a week ago, the committee ruled it would recommend life bans for Blatter and Platini, following allegations of corruption regarding a 2011 payment made to the Frenchman by the Swiss of £1.35m (€1.9m). However, it is not believed that Blatter or Platini are among those arrested in Tuesday’s operations.

The arrests at FIFA came just hours after it was reported that the body were expected to announce annual losses of £67 million (€94.5m). Leading sponsors including McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Adidas and Visa signed a letter demanding “independent oversight” of reforms.

Switzerland: FIFA to cooperate with US investigation says acting pres. Hayatou02:43
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FIFA will cooperate with the US authorities during their investigation of 12 of the body’s officials, FIFA President Issa Hayatou speaking during the press conference held in Zurich, Thursday, adding that he would make limited comments on the incidents.

Hayatou said that "the US justice department has recently proceeded into a series of arrests as part of an ongoing investigation. FIFA continues to fully cooperate in the American investigation, as it is authorised by the Swiss legislation, as well as the investigation conducted by the public ministry of the Swiss confederation" adding that "FIFA won't make any other comment."

A US-led investigation into the FIFA corruption scandal has resulted in the arrests of more than 12 officials, at least some of which took place at the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich. FIFA spokespeople have confirmed that “action” was taken by US authorities.

The Zurich hotel, raided for a second time in 2015, was where a group of high-ranking FIFA officials and representatives were arrested in May as the US-led crackdown began. Until Tuesday, a total of 14 officials had been indicted by the US.

According to reports, CONCACAF President and Honduran Alfredo Hawit and CONMEBOL President Juan Angel Napout of Paraguay were among those detained on Thursday.

Hawit, who leads the footballing confederation from North and Central America and Caribbean countries, took up his post in May after his predecessor, Jeffrey Web, was arrested in the initial police operation. Napout oversees the South American confederation and has been in the post on a permanent basis since March 2015 following a six month interim stint. Both Hawit and Napout are vice-presidents of FIFA.

Witnesses report that the hotel closed its front gates after a group of at least four people, believed to be plain clothes police officers, entered the complex. Another group of officers are said to have accessed the building from the rear. Some 30 minutes later, two cars with blacked-out windows were seen departing the hotel’s garage but it is uncertain as to who was inside at this stage.

The arrests are in line with a September statement made by US Attorney General Loretta Lynch in which she said that she anticipated more arrests being made in the future.

FIFA officials were gathering for a two-day meeting in Zurich to discuss potential reforms to the leadership and running of the body ahead of the February congress at which incumbent President Sepp Blatter is expected to be replaced. Blatter, Secretary General of FIFA Jerome Valcke and President of UEFA Michel Platini, a candidate who was hoping to succeed Blatter, were banned for 90 days by the FIFA ethics committee in October.

Just a week ago, the committee ruled it would recommend life bans for Blatter and Platini, following allegations of corruption regarding a 2011 payment made to the Frenchman by the Swiss of £1.35m (€1.9m). However, it is not believed that Blatter or Platini are among those arrested in Tuesday’s operations.

The arrests at FIFA came just hours after it was reported that the body were expected to announce annual losses of £67 million (€94.5m). Leading sponsors including McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Adidas and Visa signed a letter demanding “independent oversight” of reforms.