In the latest development in the FIFA corruption scandal, Swiss banks reported suspicious activity around several accounts that belonged to soccer’s world governing body. Attorney General of Switzerland Michael Lauber announced Wednesday that authorities have found dozens of possible money-laundering cases while investigating a “huge amount” of seized computer data from FIFA as part of the probe.
Lauber said he may interview FIFA President Sepp Blatter in a later phase of the investigation, which could result in the reopening of the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, scheduled to be held in Russia and Qatar, respectively, BBC reported. If the Swiss investigation proves that unfair tactics were used in the bidding processes, both Russia and Qatar could lose their hosting rights to the tournaments. Blatter promised to step down earlier this month following allegations of corruption in the sport body, but he will not be departing immediately. His replacement is expected to be decided at a FIFA congress, likely to be held between December 2015 and March 2016.
“We are faced with a complex investigation with many international implications,” Lauber said in a statement. “The world of Football needs to be patient. By its nature, this investigation will take more than the legendary 90 minutes.”
Last week, FIFA handed over computer data to the Swiss authorities at its Zurich headquarters.
“We note positively that banks in Switzerland did fulfill their duties to file suspicious activity reports,” Lauber said in the statement. “Partly in addition to the 104 banking relations already known to the authorities, banks announced 53 suspicious banking relations via the Anti-Money-Laundering-Framework of Switzerland.”
FIFA is facing allegations of widespread corruption after U.S. prosecutors leveled charges related to bribery, money laundering and racketeering against 14 FIFA officials, seven of whom were arrested by Swiss authorities in Zurich last month.
“The Swiss investigations are executed independently from the prosecutions of our US colleagues. Therefore, documents and data of our Swiss investigation will not be shared automatically with the US counterpart,” Lauber said.