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FIFA bank transactions deemed suspicious in Swiss investigation

The damage to FIFA's reputation continued on Wednesday as a Swiss investigation into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups revealed suspicious activity in the governing body's bank accounts.

Fifty-three of 104 investigated FIFA bank transactions are believed to involve money laundering, a Swiss inquiry revealed on Wednesday. Switzerland's anti-money laundering alert mechanism began proceedings into the respective awarding of the 2018 (Russia) and 2022 (Qatar) Football World Cups and as federal prosecutor Michael Lauber's office continues to analyze nine terabytes of seized data.

"We note positively that banks in Switzerland did fulfill their duties to file suspicious activity reports," said Lauber at a news conference. "I could care less about FIFA's schedule," added Lauber, who believes the investigation could last months, even years. "I am only interested in the criminal procedure. I'm not trying to be political with this case, I'm just trying to enforce the law."

Lauber did not exclude interviewing Blatter or FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke during the course of the investigation, but warned a resolution was not imminent.

US authorities have charged 14 people from North and South America accused of involvement in more than $150 million of bribes for soccer deals. Seven FIFA officials were detained in Zurich as part the inquiry on May 27.

FIFA president Joseph Blatter has promised to resign his office in the scandal-hit organization when an extraordinary general meeting can be held, most likely in late 2015 or early 2016 to elect a replacement.

jh/ng (dpa, SID, AFP)

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