Two Fifa vice-presidents detained at Zurich hotel

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By Agencies

Two Fifa vice-presidents have been arrested in a dawn raid at a Swiss hotel on suspicion of accepting millions of dollars of bribes.

Concacaf president Alfredo Hawit and Conmebol president Juan Angel Napout were taken from the Baur au Lac hotel, Zurich, where several Fifa officials were also arrested in May.

Fifa’s executive committee is meeting in the city to vote on reforms.

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It says it will “fully co-operate” with separate US and Swiss investigations.

The US Department of Justice requested Thursday morning’s arrests.

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Hawit, 64, is interim president for North, Central America and Caribbean football, while Napout, 57, oversees football in the South American confederation.

In May, seven Fifa officials, including another two vice-presidents, were arrested at the same hotel at the request of a US investigation into corruption, as football’s world governing body was engulfed by claims of widespread wrongdoing.

The Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FoJ) has said Hawit and Napout are alleged to have taken money for selling marketing rights in connection with football tournaments in Latin America, as well as World Cup qualifying matches.

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It said the pair had opposed their extradition to the United States at a hearing earlier.

“They are being held in custody pending their extradition. According to the US arrest requests, they are suspected of accepting bribes of millions of dollars,” the Swiss FoJ said.

A Swiss criminal investigation into the bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups was also launched earlier this year, alongside the US inquiry.

Fifa has said in a statement it will “continue to co-operate fully with the US investigation as permitted by Swiss law, as well as with the investigation being led by the Swiss Office of the Attorney General”.

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Fifa President Sepp Blatter, 79, and UEFA President Michel Platini, 60, a Fifa vice-president, are currently suspended for 90 days after the Swiss attorney general opened criminal proceedings against Blatter.

Fifa suspended the pair in October while Fifa’s ethics committee investigates corruption claims against them. Both deny wrongdoing.

Shortly after the original Fifa arrests in May, Blatter announced he would step down as president in February 2016 after 17 years in charge, despite having been re-elected the previous week.

Source: BBC Sports

 

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