US indicts nine football officials in FIFA corruption probe

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U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch says corruption allegedly spans "at least two generations of soccer officials"

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch says corruption allegedly spans "at least two generations of soccer officials" (AFP Photo/Chip Somodevilla)

New York (AFP) - The US Justice Department announced conspiracy and corruption charges against nine football officials and five business executives Wednesday, after Swiss authorities arrested seven suspects based on the indictments.

The 14 officials and executives were charged with a bribery and kickback scheme linked to football's world governing body FIFA over a 24-year period.

The Justice Department revealed that four individuals and two companies have already pleaded guilty, in a case that has rocked football's world governing body.

"It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks," US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said.

At the same time as the indictments were unsealed, authorities raided the Miami headquarters of the CONCACAF soccer association, which coordinates the sport in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Lynch, along with FBI Director James Comey, will hold a press conference at 10:30 am (1430 GMT) in Brooklyn, New York.

According to the Justice Department, the defendants include Jeffrey Webb, FIFA vice president, executive committee member and CONCACAF president; Eduardo Li, FIFA executive committee member-elect and CONCACAF executive committee member; Julio Rocha, FIFA development officer; Costas Takkas, attache to the CONCACAF president; and Jack Warner, former FIFA vice president and ex-CONCACAF president.

The others are: Eugenio Figueredo, current FIFA vice president and executive committee member; Rafael Esquivel, current CONMEBOL executive committee member; Jose Maria Marin, current member of the FIFA organizing committee for the Olympics; and Nicolas Leoz, former FIFA executive committee member.

The sports marketing executives charged include: Alejandro Burzaco, controlling principal of Torneos y Competencias S.A.; Aaron Davidson, president of Traffic Sports USA Inc.; and Hugo and Mariano Jinkis, controlling principals of Full Play Group S.A.

The four who have pleaded guilty are: Daryll Warner, a former FIFA development officer and son of Jack Warner, the former CONCACAF president; Daryan Warner, who holds dual nationality from Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada; Charles Blazer, former CONCACAF general secretary and a former FIFA executive committee member; and Jose Hawilla, owner of the Brazilian sports marketing Traffic Group.

The seven arrested in Zurich are: Webb, Li, Rocha, Takkas, Figueredo, Esquivel and Marin.