US asks for extradition of seven Fifa officials

The United States has requested that Switzerland extradite seven Fifa officials who were arrested on corruption charges in May.

Nine current and former officials were among 14 people indicted on charges of racketeering conspiracy and corruption following a major inquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The seven in question are able to challenge an extradition ruling, so the USA could face a lengthy wait before discovering whether the request will be granted.

The Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) revealed in a statement on Thursday: “The USA has asked Switzerland to extradite the seven Fifa officials arrested in Zurich. The formal extradition requests were submitted to the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) yesterday evening.

“The seven FIFA officials were arrested in Zurich on the basis of a request from the USA, and detained pending extradition. 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 by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, which is investigating the high-ranking Fifa officers on suspicion of taking bribes worth over $100 million (€90m).

“In return, those suspected of paying the bribes – representatives of sports media and sports promotion firms – are believed to have received media, marketing and sponsorship rights for soccer tournaments in the United States and in Latin America. These crimes are thought to have been agreed and prepared in the USA, and payments were allegedly routed through US banks.

“The Zurich Cantonal Police will give the seven Fifa officials a hearing on the extradition requests. The FOJ will then grant the persons concerned, or their lawyers, a period of 14 days in which to respond to the request… the FOJ will then rule on extradition within a few weeks.”