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US officials charge 16 in FIFA investigation

US officials have named 16 officials charged in a new indictment, just hours after two FIFA vice-presidents were arrested in Zurich by Swiss authorities. Guilty pleas for eight previous defendants were also confirmed.

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Swiss police arrest two FIFA officials

The US Department of Justice has charged 16 football officials as part of their investigation into corruption at FIFA, world football's governing body.

A new superseding indictment with 92 counts has brought the number of officials charged with corruption to 41. The 27 defendants are alleged to have engaged in bribes of well over $200 million (156 million euros) to sell media, marketing rights and other properties.

The 16 officials to be charged are: Alfredo Hawit, Ariel Alvarado, Rafael Callejas, Brayan Jiménez, Rafael Salguero, Héctor Trujillo, Reynaldo Vasquez, Juan Ángel Napout, Manuel Burga, Carlos Chávez, Luís Chiriboga, Marco Polo del Nero, Eduardo Deluca, José Luis Meiszner, Romer Osuna, Ricardo Teixeira.

Raids in Zurich saw Juan Angel Napout, head of South America's association COMNEBOL, and Alfredo Hawit, head of the North, Central American and Caribbean ruling body CONCACAF arrested. Loretta Lynch, US Attorney General, confirmed work was being done to extradite the pair.

Romer Osuna is a current member of FIFA's Audit and Compliance Committee. The current president of the Brazilian FA, Marco Polo del Nero, and the former president, Ricardo Teixeira, also a former vice-president of FIFA, were also indicted. Almost all Central and South American countries are alleged to be involved in the schemes.

"The message from this announcement should be clear to every culpable individual who remains in the shadows, hoping to evade our investigation: You will not wait us out. You will not escape our focus," Lynch told reporters at a press conference.

Eight guilty pleas

Meanwhile, eight defendants of a previous indictment have agreed to plead guilty to corruption. Former FIFA vice-president Jeffrey Webb pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, three counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering.

Executive Committee member Luis Bedoya waived the indictment and pleaded guilty, while several others worked in various sports marketing companies in Central and South America with contracts around sporting events such as the Copa Libertadores, the continent's version of the Champions League.

Earlier, FIFA unveiled a package of reforms, including a new FIFA Council, aimed at restoring credibility to the organization, which will elect a new president on February 26.

rd/jm (AFP, AP)

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