US asks for extradition of 7 FIFA officials - Swiss authorities

A Swiss police officer stands in front of the entrance of the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland (Reuters / Arnd Wiegmann)
The US says it has sent extradition requests to Switzerland, for seven FIFA officials, who were arrested in May, on suspicion of corruption, the Swiss Federal Office of Justice has said. The officials are currently in jail around the Zurich region.

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Local police in Zurich will now give the seven officials a hearing concerning the extradition requests, the Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) has said. The organization says that the officials or their lawyers will have 14 days to respond to the charges.

“On 1st July 2015, the US embassy in Bern submitted the formal extradition requests within the deadline laid down in the bilateral extradition treaty. The requests are based on the arrest warrants issued on 20 May 2015 by the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York,” a statement on the FOJ’s website read.

The charges relate to a dawn raid carried out on May 27 at a hotel in Zurich, two days before FIFA’s executive committee was due to meet to hold elections to choose a new president for world football’s governing body.

The FOJ said it would give its ruling in a few weeks, but has mentioned that any decision could be challenged in both the federal criminal court and the federal supreme court.

The extradition requests are in response to a US probe into alleged bribery and corruption worth more than $100 million and are alleged to involve high-ranking FIFA officials.

The seven, who are being held in separate detention facilities around Zurich, in order to avoid collusion, are all from Latin America and the Caribbean region.

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The men say they will all fight the extradition charges, while if they are eventually found guilty, they face the prospect of 20 years in jail.

Among those arrested are two FIFA vice-presidents, Eugenio Figueredo, who is also the President of CONMEBOL, the South American football organization, and Jeffrey Webb, who is also a UK citizen and the President of CONCACAF, the footballing governing body for North America and the Caribbean.