U.S. authorities investigating the widespread bribery scandal embroiling FIFA, world soccer's troubled governing body, are now investigating the role that major financial institutions played in alleged FIFA corruption, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Journal reported on Thursday that prosecutors in the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s office and officials with the New York State Department of Financial Services -- New York's top banking regulator -- have contacted more than a half dozen banks, including HSBC Holdings PLC, Standard Chartered PLC, and Delta National Bank and Trust Company.
When contacting the banks, prosecutors have focused on whether the anti-money-laundering systems required of the banks should have detected the corrupt payments. Other banks questioned include Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse Group and Bank Hapoalim, Israel's largest bank.
The news comes less than two weeks after Swiss prosecutors said there was further evidence of money laundering regarding FIFA’s 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids, which were awarded to Russia and Qatar, respectively. Bidding for the 2026 World Cup was put on hold amid the ongoing investigations.
The investigations and allegations resulted in the extradition of a FIFA official from Zurich on July 16 and in the resignation of FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who resigned just four days after he was reelected to his post for a fifth term. FIFA will vote for a new president to replace Blatter at a special congress on February 26, 2016, in Zurich, the organization said.
Six FIFA officials had been put on Interpol’s Red Notice list, which is an indicator that governments intend to extradite and prosecute those people on the list.
The scandal follows the 2013 revelation that one member of FIFA’s executive committee, Chuck Blazer, admitted to taking bribes in relation to the 1998 and 2010 World Cup bids. Blazer pleaded guilty to racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering and other charges. He is currently banned from any further soccer activity on a national or international level.