Top Fifa officials arrested in Zurich
FIFA vice-president Jeffrey Webb was among six senior officials of the institution arrested at Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich and detained in an undisclosed hotel on Wednesday morning.
The suspects are under investigation for among other economic crimes, receiving about Sh 10 billion in bribes from commercial deals within the football body.
Various international media sources say those arrested could be extradited to the United States to answer the charges.
Eugenio Figueredo and Eduardo Li are the other officials whose arrests have since been verified, although upto 14 other officials (see profiles below) are being sought.
The New York Times reports the arrests were carried out “peacefully” with the suspects being led away without hand cuffs. British tabloid the Daily Mail also clarified that Fifa President Sepp Blatter “was not among those arrested”.
2022 FIFA WORLD CUP
The identities of those arrested at the time were not formally disclosed, as the investigators used white sheets to shield them from the press and pubic.
The world governing football body has been battling several corruption accusations in the recent past, with the procedure and circumstances surrounding the announcement of Qatar as host of the 2022 Fifa World Cup among the controversies surrounding the world football governing body.
This development arrives barely 72 hours before Fifa goes to the polls to elect its next President.
Football Kenya Federation Sam Nyamweya, his Deputy Robert Asembo and CEO Micheal Esakwa are already in the Swiss capital ahead of the exercise.
It is yet to be known whether Fifa’s program for the three day annual assembly will go ahead after the arrests, with Blatter, 80, expected to be re-elected for a fourth time despite opposition from Prince Ali bin al Hussein of Jordan.
Profile of suspects:
1. Jeffrey Webb – FIFA vice-president and president of CONCACAF. The 50-year-old was born and lives in the Cayman Islands and is the Cayman Islands Football Association president.
2. Eugenio Figueredo – Former footballer and now Uruguayan FA executive. A former president of CONMEBOL, the South American football federation.
3. Jack Warner – Former FIFA vice-president and president of CONCACAF from Trinidad and Tobago until he resigned from all his positions in international football in 2011.
4. Eduardo Li – president of the Costa Rican Football Association.
5. Julio Rocha – president of the Nicaraguan Football Federation.
6. Costas Takkas – a former general secretary of the Cayman Islands Football Association.
7. Rafael Esquivel – president of the Venezuelan Football Federation since 1988.
8. Jose Maria Marin – vice-president of the Brazil Football Federation and its former president. The CBF were the football organisation who handed out controversial £16,000 Parmigiani watches at their congress in Sao Paulo a year ago, when Marin was the overlord of the association.
9. Nicolas Leoz – Former CONMEBOL president between 1986 and 2013. He allegedly wanted the FA Cup named after him in exchange for a vote for England in their attempts to host the 2018 World Cup.