United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch won’t say if outgoing president Sepp Blatter is a target of an expanding probe into FIFA corruption, but anticipated she expects more charges against “individuals and entities”.
Lynch and her Swiss counterpart Michael Lauber spoke at a Zurich news conference on Monday, giving an update about their separate investigations into corruption scandals at world football’s governing body.
Since the May 27 US Justice Department press conference that followed the indictment of 14 FIFA officials and sports marketing executives on bribery and corruption, she said the scope of the “active and ongoing” investigation was not limited.
“We are following evidence where it leads” she told reporters. Lynch confirmed that three defendants were awaiting trial in the US, with 10 others pending extradition in Switzerland and three other countries, saying she was “very hopeful we will be able to bring to the United States all those we charged in May”.
Based on the US authorities’ cooperation with the Swiss attorney general’s office, she said: “We do anticipate pursuing additional charges against individuals and entities.”
Asked if Blatter was a target of the US investigation, Lynch said she would not comment on “which individuals will or will not be the subject of the next series of charges” the US authorities would bring.
As to whether the 79-year-old might face arrest should he travel to the USA or a nation with close US ties, she added: ”I am not able to give you information about Mr. Blatter's travel plans.”
Commenting on the Swiss investigation, which is examining bribery allegations linked to the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar in December 2010, Lauber said federal agencies had seized properties in the Swiss Alps.
To date, 121 different bank accounts have been deemed suspicious by a Swiss financial intelligence unit, reporting to the investigation task force.
Lauber said it was too early to give a specific figure of frozen assets, remarking that he preferred not to divulge any numbers “for tactical reasons”.
But he confirmed that 11 terabytes of data had been seized so far in the Swiss investigation: “Let me assure you we are well aware of public’s interest in this investigation. But clearly we are not even near the halftime break.”
In the 25-minute press conference, he also revealed that Swiss authorities were “looking for means to accelerate the procedures” but challenges were presented by some information being “under seal”.
“Certainly it would be helpful if some parties involved would cooperate more substantially,” he said, without elaborating. (WFI).-