FIFA Officials Face Fraud Charges Over Secret Payments

On December 2nd, 2015, FIFA officials were charged with fraud on the grounds of accepting bribes and kickbacks for awarding contracts. The charges are part of an ongoing investigation by the FBI on corruption in international soccer. 14 current or former FIFA executives will be investigated as a result of this action.

In a statement made by the U.S. Department of Justice, officials claimed that there was an alleged 24 year conspiracy to solicit and receive over $150 million dollars in bribes and kickbacks.

The arrests were focused on bribes and kickbacks allegedly totaling more than $100 million involving the sale of marketing rights to various tournaments and matches.

The DoJ also claimed that the defendants had allegedly used U.S. financial institutions in connection with the scheme which is illegal under U.S. law.

A total of nine FIFA officials were arrested in Zurich, Switzerland after a raid conducted by Swiss authorities at a hotel where they were staying for congress meetings to elect FIFA president Sepp Blatter for a fifth term.

The arrests were not made by Swiss authority but instead by the order of U.S. authorities and will be extradited to New York to face federal charges under the investigation.

U.S. attorney general Loretta Lynch stated, As charged in the indictment, the defendants fostered a culture of corruption and greed that created an uneven playing field for the biggest sport in the world. Undisclosed and illegal payments, kickbacks, and bribes became a way of doing business at FIFA.

Switzerland’s national telco service provider, Swisscom, has cut back on its expansion plans due to the ongoing NSA spying scandal. The company has stated that certain aspects of their business plan were put on hold because people were fearful of using the company’s data services after Edward Snowden leaked information about mass surveillance in Switzerland.

Swisscom stated, We are forced to reckon with the fact that many potential customers do not want anything to do with an enterprise that is in any way connected with data leaks or with the unproven allegations of misuse of data by third parties…The overall economic damage is difficult to assess today but it will be in the double-digit million range.

Despite this setback, Swisscom still reported a profit of $1 billion USD for the previous year and expects to meet its revenue forecast for 2016 as well.

Swisscom is one of several companies that have been caught up in what has become known as the NSA spying scandal which involves the alleged mass surveillance by U.S. and other European intelligence agencies of Swiss citizens including the Swiss military and even its political leadership.

Swisscom’s subsidiary, Xtra, was apparently one of several companies that has been targeted by U.S. and British security agencies after it began offering services such as email that used encryption to protect users from being infiltrated without their knowledge.

Swisscom has stated that the loss of business due to this incident is expected to continue. However, they still consider it a success in terms of revenue and profits for 2015.