Swiss expect to decide on FIFA extraditions in September

Tue Aug 25, 2015 2:17pm EDT
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By Stephanie Nebehay

BERNE (Reuters) - Swiss authorities expect to decide in September whether to extradite six soccer officials to face corruption charges in the United States, a Justice Ministry spokesman said.

The accused men, who are in custody and whose lawyers are opposing their extradition to New York, would have 30 days to appeal decisions to the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona - a process that could take several months.

"We have received all responses. Now we are able to examine whether conditions are fulfilled to grant extradition and take our decision," ministry spokesman Folco Galli told Reuters.

"The first decisions should come in September," he said, speaking late on Monday in his office in the Swiss capital.

Extradition is allowed if an alleged offense is punishable by at least a year in jail under both Swiss and U.S. law. Swiss authorities must rule on whether this "dual criminality" rule is met, rather than on whether the defendant is guilty or innocent.

Several officials from FIFA, world soccer's governing body, were among 14 men indicted in the United States in late May on bribery, money laundering and wire fraud charges involving more than $150 million in payments.

Galli declined to say how much money has been blocked at several banks in Switzerland as it is a "pending proceeding".

"We have ordered (the banks) to freeze the bank accounts mentioned in the (U.S.) request. Now we are taking evidence. We are receiving the bank documents. It takes time," he said.   Continued...

Members of the media walk in front of the headquarters of soccer's international governing body FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland, May 27, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich