Tuesday 20 March 2018

Swiss Attorney General seizes documents at FIFA headquarters during morning raid


Swiss authorities carried out a search of FIFA's Zurich headquarters on Thursday as they continue their criminal investigation into football's world governing body.

The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) conducted the search and seized documents and electronic data as part of its probe which initially began into the circumstances surrounding the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

A statement from the OAG read: "As part of the ongoing criminal investigations in the FIFA affair, the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) carried out a search of FIFA's headquarters on June 2, 2016 with the aim of confirming existing findings and obtaining further information.

"Documents and electronic data were seized and will now be examined to determine their relevance to the ongoing proceedings.

"The investigations still relate only to the persons named in earlier statements issued by the OAG and further persons unknown. As proceedings are ongoing, no further information can be given at present."

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter is one of the individuals subject to criminal proceedings over the "disloyal payment" of 2million Swiss francs (just under £1.4m at current exchange rates) that was made to ex-UEFA president Michel Platini in 2011.

The criminal case is proceeding but both have been banned from all football activity over the payment by FIFA's ethics committee.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) reduced Platini's ban to four years on appeal, while Blatter's ban has been reduced from eight to six years by FIFA's own appeals committee.

CAS is still to give its ruling on Blatter's appeal to the court.

The offices of European football's governing body UEFA were raided in April by Swiss police following the Panama Papers leak. Some of the documents appeared to show that current FIFA president Gianni Infantino had signed off on a Champions League television rights deal in 2006 which is under investigation by the US Department of Justice.

Infantino, who at the time was UEFA's director of legal services, has denied any wrongdoing in relation to the documents.

The Swiss police investigation is also looking at Blatter in regard to whether other TV rights were deliberately undersold during his reign as president. The home of Jerome Valcke, FIFA's former general secretary who was banned from football for 12 years in February, was also raided by Swiss police in March and he was questioned on suspicion of "various acts of criminal mismanagement".

Press Association

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