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More arrests expected in FIFA probe - Lynch

Published:Tuesday | September 15, 2015 | 9:00 AM
Blatter

ZURICH (AP):

FIFA and embattled Presi-dent, Sepp Blatter, faced more pressure yesterday as Unites States Attorney General Loretta Lynch warned of

new indictments in a widening investigation of corruption in international soccer.

"We do anticipate pursuing additional charges against individuals and entities," Lynch said in FIFA's home city, citing unspecified new evidence gathered since the stunning May 27 arrests of seven people at a luxury hotel in Zurich.

Lynch spoke at a news conference alongside her Swiss counterpart, Michael Lauber, whose separate investigation of money laundering appears equally threatening to FIFA and its soon-departing president.

A total of 121 different bank accounts have been reported as suspicious by a Swiss financial intelligence unit to Lauber's team of prosecutors, he said.

massive amounts of data

The two lawyers shared a stage on the sidelines of an annual conference of federal prosecutors, almost four months after the scale of their investigations was made public.

The Swiss case could spread beyond the World Cup bids won by Russia and Qatar as prosecutors sift through massive amounts of data and documents seized from FIFA headquarters in May and June.

Much of FIFA's contracts and finances during Blatter's 17-year presidency now seem open to investigation.

"We have a lot of facts at the moment out of house searches and out of the documents we received," said Lauber, when asked about an allegation that Blatter knowingly undersold World Cup television rights for the Caribbean in exchange for political support.

The US indictment alleged a $10 million bribery scheme tied to Warner and Blazer voting for South Africa as 2010 World Cup host and bribery in broadcasting rights for continental championships in North and South America.

Lynch's warning that "entities" could be indicted prompted one question about whether the Miami-based CONCACAF governing body and South American body CONMEBOL could be formally charged.

"If they used the US finance system, we certainly feel we would have the ability to charge them," she said.

"I think they have a lot to consider," Lynch said of FIFA's response to the cases. "To anyone who seeks to live in the past and to return soccer to the days of corruption and bribery, cronyism and patronage, this global response sends a clear message: you are on the wrong side of progress."