Blatter hires counsel as Swiss FIFA probe eyes bank transactions

Wed Jun 17, 2015 7:33pm EDT
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By Karolin Schaps and Mark Hosenball

BERNE (Reuters) - Sepp Blatter, FIFA's embattled president, has hired a high-powered U.S. lawyer to represent him, a source said on Wednesday as a corruption probe engulfs soccer's global governing body with Swiss authorities identifying suspicious bank transactions.

Blatter retained Richard Cullen, the chairman of the law firm McGuireWoods and a former U.S. federal prosecutor, said the person familiar with the matter who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity.

Swiss prosecutors looking into the international soccer scandal identified 53 suspicious bank transactions, the attorney general said on Wednesday, stressing that the investigation may take time.

Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber told journalists he would not rule out interviewing Blatter and General Secretary Jerome Valcke, although Switzerland had so far targeted no individuals.

Switzerland, where FIFA is based, announced its criminal investigation and seized computers at FIFA headquarters last month on the same day that the United States revealed indictments of nine soccer officials and five businessmen as part of a separate probe into corruption.

"We are faced with a complex investigation with many international implications," Lauber said in his first public comments since his office obtained the computer data last month.

"The world of football needs to be patient. By its nature, this investigation will take more than the legendary 90 minutes," he said, referring to the length of a soccer match.


A file picture shows FIFA President Sepp Blatter (L) standing in front of executive member Chuck Blazer of the U.S. during the 61st FIFA congress at the Hallenstadion in Zurich June 1, 2011. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann