Several marketing executives are said to be amongst a number of top FIFA officials to be charged with corruption by Swiss police following a dawn raid on a luxury Swiss hotel.
Undercover officers stormed the five star Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich during a gathering of football’s governing body to collar individuals identified as having accepted bribes and kickbacks.
Four sports marketing executives from the America’s, named by the New York Times as Alejandro Burzaco, Aaron Davidson, Hugo Jinkis and Mariano Jinkis, are accused of paying in excess of $150m in bribes and kickbacks. Authorities also charged José Margulies as an intermediary who facilitated illegal payments.
They join nine other officials charged with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering, identified by the NYT as Jeffrey Webb, Eugenio Figueredo, Jack Warner, Eduardo Li, Julio Rocha, Costas Takkas, Rafael Esquivel, José Maria Marin and Nicolás Leoz.
An unnamed law enforcement officer was quoted in the paper as saying: “We’re struck by just how long this went on for and how it touched nearly every part of what FIFA did. It just seemed to permeate every element of the federation and was just their way of doing business. It seems like this corruption was institutionalized.”
The swoop comes as embattled FIFA president Sepp Blatter seeks a fifth term as president of the body with an election scheduled for Friday.