Putin: FIFA-linked arrests are US attempt to thwart Blatter re-election
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the US could be selfishly motivated for its own gain, as was the case with Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.
“Unfortunately our American partners are using these methods in order to achieve their own selfish gains and it is illegal to persecute people. I would not rule out that in regards to FIFA, the same thing could be happening, though I do not know how it will end,” he said.
“However, the fact that this is happening right on the eve of the FIFA presidential elections, gives one this exact impression.”
— RT (@RT_com) May 28, 2015
Putin added this is an obvious attempt to expand Washington’s jurisdiction in other countries.
“This is yet one more attempt to try and impose their law against other states. I am absolutely sure that this is an attempt to try and stop Blatter from being re-elected as FIFA president, which is a grave breach of the principles of a functioning international organization.”
He also said pressure had been applied on Blatter "to force him to take the 2018 World Cup from Russia."
“We know his position – which has nothing to do with any kind of special relationship between Russia and FIFA – he thinks that sport and politics should be separate.”
“In terms of these arrests, it looks rather strange at the very least. These arrests took place at the request of the Americans and they were accused of corruption,” Putin told journalists, pointing out that that the accusations were being made against international officials.
— RT America (@RT_America) May 28, 2015
“One could say that maybe someone might be guilty of something. I do not know this, but what I do know is that this has nothing to do with the USA,” he added. “They, these officials, are not citizens of the USA, and if something happened, it did not take place on the territory of the United States and the US has no business in this.”
Putin added that the “prosecutor of the United States, according to our mass media has already said that these FIFA committee members have committed a crime. This is almost as though the prosecutor doesn’t know of the rule ‘innocent until proven guilty’.”
“Whether the people are guilty or not, this should be decided in a court."
— RT (@RT_com) May 27, 2015
The Russian president recalled the history surrounding the former National Security Agency employee Edward Snowden, who managed to leak documents surrounding the illegal actions of the USA across the world, which included creating secret surveillance programs to listen in on the conversations of world leaders.
“No one wants to give him the right to be accepted as an asylum seeker or to guarantee his safety. No one wants to get in a quarrel with their partners, with their more senior partners.”
Putin added that Assange's case is also relevant.
“They are after him because he leaked information, which he received from US defense, which detailed the actions of the US army in the Middle East and in particular in Iraq.”