For Blatter, Swiss raid shows FIFA probe moving closer to home

Mon Sep 28, 2015 1:10am EDT
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By Mark Hosenball

ZURICH (Reuters) - Since the explosive indictments and arrests of international soccer officials in May, FIFA President Sepp Blatter -- previously a prolific traveler -- had only once left his home base of Switzerland.

In the end, he wasn’t even safe in his own office.

On Friday morning, staff from the Swiss Attorney General’s Office (OAG) arrived at FIFA’s headquarters building high in the hills above Zurich.

According to a person with knowledge of Friday’s events, the team of around 15 officials, including prosecutors and Swiss police, arrived to search Blatter’s office while he was attending a meeting of FIFA’s ruling executive committee. The officials seized unspecified data, the OAG said.

The prosecutors waited until the meeting had ended before approaching the 79-year-old FIFA boss and taking him quietly to a conference room near his office, where they told him he was under a criminal probe and interviewed him for several hours.

Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber was not present and a senior deputy led the questioning, the source said.

Although Blatter was not expecting the raid, some within FIFA had been told something was coming, a FIFA source said.

While a group of around 150 reporters was told that a scheduled news conference from Blatter had been canceled, Lauber’s office was preparing a statement.   Continued...

FIFA President Sepp Blatter stands in an office at the FIFA headquarters after a meeting of the FIFA executive committee in Zurich, Switzerland September 25, 2015. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann