U.S. and Swiss prosecutors to speak on corruption probes

Tue Sep 1, 2015 9:24am EDT
 
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BERNE (Reuters) - The United States and Swiss Attorneys General will both speak about their investigations into soccer corruption, which have rocked FIFA, at an event in Zurich this month, the Swiss attorney general's office said on Tuesday.

U.S. attorney general Loretta Lynch and her Swiss counterpart Michael Lauber will hold a joint news conference on Sept. 14, Lauber's office said in a statement.

FIFA was thrown into turmoil on May 27 when 14 sports marketing executives and soccer officials, including several from FIFA, were indicted in the U.S. on bribery, money-laundering and wire-fraud charges involving more than $150 million in payments.

Seven of those accused were arrested by Swiss police in a dawn raid on a luxury Zurich hotel two days before the FIFA Congress where Sepp Blatter was re-elected for a fifth term as president.

The Swiss investigation is focusing on the decision to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar, made at the Congress in Zurich on Dec. 2, 2010.

"The focus will be on the two separate criminal proceedings," said the Swiss attorney general's office in its statement.

Four days after being re-elected, Blatter made a shock announcement in which he said he would resign. His successor will be chosen at an extraordinary FIFA Congress on Feb 26.

Last month, Reuters reported that the Swiss investigation had hit some roadblocks, according to U.S. and European sources familiar with the matter.

Barriers to progress included reduced levels of collaboration with U.S. authorities who are conducting a parallel probe that is much more advanced, and an increasing acknowledgment by prosecutors in Berne that their powers under Swiss law were constrained in this kind of case.

(Editing by Clare Fallon)

 
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch speaks at a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington about the shooting at Charleston, South Carolina church, June 18, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas