United States US officials have indicted 16 individuals including five current and former FIFA executive committee members of corruption charges as the scandal rocking the world’s football governing body deepens.
Earlier on Thursday, two FIFA vice-presidents – Concacaf president Alfredo Hawit and Conmebol president Juan Angel Napout – were arrested on suspicion “of accepting bribes of millions of dollars”.
US Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, who addressed a press conference in Washington on Thursday declared that both vice-presidents are corrupt and would not escape their focus.
“Two generations of soccer officials abused their positions of trust for personal gain, frequently through an alliance of unscrupulous sports marketing executives who shut out competitors and kept highly lucrative contracts for themselves through the systematic payment of bribes and kickbacks,” said Lynch.
According to the US prosecutors, the level of stench oozing from FIFA corruption scam was unbearable and so must be dealt with. “The betrayal of trust set forth here is outrageous. The scale of corruption alleged herein is unconscionable. The Department of Justice is committed to ending the rampant corruption we have alleged amidst the leadership of international soccer – not only because of the scale of the schemes, or the brazenness and breadth of the operation required to sustain such corruption, but also because of the affront to international principles that this behaviour represents.
Lynch went further: “The message from this announcement should be clear to every culpable individual who remains in the shadows, hoping to evade our investigation: You will not wait us out. You will not escape our focus.”
The Caribbean and South American Football Federations dominates the other indicted officials with no African and Asian official suspected in the biggest scandal to have rocked world football – with president, Sepp Blatter and vice president, Michel Platini already suspended.
The 16 indicted officials are:
Alfredo Hawit (CONCACAF president)
Ariel Alvarado (Former CONCACAF Executive Committee Member)
Rafael Callejas (President Honduras Federation)
Brayan Jiménez (Guatemala Federation President)
Rafael Salguero (FIFA Executive Committee Member from Honduras)
Héctor Trujillo (General Secretary, Guatemala Federation)
Reynaldo Vasquez (President El Salvador Federation)
Juan Angel Napout (President CONMEBOL)
Manuel Burgan (Former President Peru Federation)
Carlos Chavez (President Bolivian Federation)
Luis Chiriboga (President, Colombian Federation)
Marco Polo del Nero (President Brazilian Federation)
Eduardo Deluca (former CONMEBOL Secretary General)
José Luis Meiszner (CONMEBOL Secretary General)
Romer Osuna (Bolivian Federation)
Ricardo Teixeira (Former Brazilian Federation President)
By Olisemeka Obeche