US & Swiss prosecutors seize more assets in FIFA corruption probe
Huge volumes of data have been collected during the probe, with 121 bank accounts brought to investigators’ attention. House searches have been conducted in Switzerland in order to get further evidence.
“Where proportional and needed, financial assets have been seized, including real estate, for example flats in the Swiss Alps. At this point I would like to emphasize that investments in real estate can be misused for the purpose of money laundering,” Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber said Monday.
He added that huge amounts of electronic data, at around 11 terabytes, have been seized so far, with more people been questioned.
The attorney general, however, did not specify the figure of frozen assets, saying it was too early and he preferred not to share the information.
Criminal investigations have been ongoing for several months after a massive corruption scandal rocked FIFA on May 27. The scandal was prompted by a wave of accusations against the organization’s senior figures. Fourteen FIFA-linked officials and businessmen have been accused by the US of bribery, fraud and money laundering. Seven high-ranking officials were arrested in a Zurich hotel, where they had gathered ahead of the body’s general meeting.
Russian President Vladimir Putin hinted that he views the allegations against FIFA as politically motivated, because the investigation began after the organization's head Sepp Blatter pledged his support of Russia hosting the 2018 World Cup.