Lynch expects more charges in FIFA soccer scandal – USA TODAY
The Justice Department’s $150 million bribery inquiry that has shaken international soccer’s governing body has expanded and new charges are expected, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Monday.
Speaking in Zurich, near where top FIFA officials were herded out of a posh hotel in handcuffs earlier this year, Lynch said U.S. and Swiss authorities have been working closely together onÂ “separate and complementary” investigations that span the globe.
“Based upon that cooperation and new evidence, we anticipate pursuing new charges against individuals and entities,” the attorney general said.
“Our investigation remains active and ongoing, and has in fact expanded since May,” Lynch said. “The scope of our investigation is not limited, and we are following the evidence where it leads.”
In May, the Justice Department unsealed a 47-count indictment charging 14 people, including top FIFA officials, with racketeering, money laundering, bribery and fraud. The scandal prompted FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who so far has not been charged, to announce his intention to step down when a replacement is chosen.
Lynch did not comment on whether Blatter is a target in the expanded inquiry.
Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber, appearing with Lynch, said a parallel money laundering investigation in Switzerland also remained active in which investigators have seized properties in the Swiss Alps and potential evidence in searches of homes in western Switzerland.
“Investment in real estate can be used for the purpose of money laundering,” Lauber said, suggesting that the Swiss inquiry also was widening beyond it original focus on the 2018-2022 World Cup bidding.
Asked about Blatter’s involvement in the Swiss investigation, Lauber said: “We have a lot of facts at the moment out of house searches and out of the documents we received.”
Lauber said 121 bank accounts have been deemed suspicious by Swiss authorities.
Contributing: Associated Press.Â
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