FIFA probe reveals 53 cases of possible money-laundering

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Swiss banks point to 53 possible money-laundering acts in the probe of FIFA’s 2018 and 2022 World Cup contests, the country’s attorney-general said on 17 June.

The “suspicious bank relations” were filed in a bid to comply with Swiss regulations against money laundering, said attorney-general Michael Lauber.

If new evidence proves more wrongdoing, Lauber is prepared for either country to be stripped of hosting rights.

He described a “huge and complex” case targeting “criminal mismanagement and money-laundering”, which sent 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.

The prospect of interviewing FIFA president Sepp Blatter and secretary general Jerome Valcke is not ruled out under the present circumstances.

Meanwhile, US federal agencts along with Swiss authorities are probing Blatter in possible case bribery and racketeering.

Senior FIFA voters received $10 million in bribes to support South Africa’s bid for 2010 World Cup. Valcke has been linked to transferring the money from a FIFA account on South Africa’s behalf.

FIFA began the 2018 and 2022 case by filing a complaint against “persons unknown” last November. “This is a dynamic process,” Lauber said. “It could go everywhere and that is why I don’t want to tell you where to focus.”

Lauber was sent a 430-page probe report submitted last September by FIFA former ethics prosecutor, Michael Garcia. The former US Attorney and his team spent two years probing World Cup bidding contests, which included nine candidates from 11 countries.

However, Garcia couldn’t force some FIFA voters to meet with him and didn’t have subpoena powers to collect more evidence.

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