FIFA hands report from internal corruption probe to Swiss authorities

FIFA hands report from internal corruption probe to Swiss authorities
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Published March 31st, 2017 - 19:55 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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A statement said that FIFA's external counsel has compiled 1,300 pages and more than 20,0000 pages of exhibits from the probe over 22 months since 2015.
A statement said that FIFA's external counsel has compiled 1,300 pages and more than 20,0000 pages of exhibits from the probe over 22 months since 2015.

FIFA has completed its internal investigation into corruption allegations and handed the reports to Swiss authorities, football's ruling body said on Friday.

A statement said that FIFA's external counsel has compiled 1,300 pages and more than 20,0000 pages of exhibits from the probe over 22 months since 2015.

The investigation came in connection with arrests and the indictment of more than 40 officials and entities in an American probe on charges of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering around the awarding of marketing and broadcast rights for football tournaments.

They include former FIFA vice-presidents and top officials of its regional confederations.

Swiss authorities meanwhile are probing possible corruption around the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

FIFA said it could not give details of its findings because the investigations in the US and Switzerland are ongoing.

The corruption allegations rocked the football community, with seven people alone arrested in a Zurich hotel on the eve of the 2015 FIFA Congress.

The affair also ultimately led to the downfall of former FIFA president Joseph Blatter who was first suspended and then banned by FIFA's ethics committee in connection with a "disloyal payment" to ex-UEFA boss Michel Platini.

Blatter, who has protested his innocence, is also a suspect in the Swiss probe in connection with the payment and criminal mismanagement around the sale of media rights.

FIFA hopes that its cooperation with the authorities will preserve its victim status in the American probe, and Friday's statement said the ruling body "understands and has agreed that the reports will also be made available to the US authorities."

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: "FIFA committed to conducting a thorough and comprehensive investigation of the facts so we could hold wrongdoers within football accountable and cooperate with the authorities.

"We have now completed that investigation and handed the evidence over to the authorities, who will continue to pursue those who enriched themselves and abused their positions of trust in football. FIFA will now return its focus to the game, for fans and players throughout the world."

FIFA said that 2.5 million documents were reviewed and key witnesses interviewed during the internal investigation carried out by law firm Quinn Emmanuel.

The probe is said to have cost tens of millions of dollars, and FIFA has reportedly spent similar sums on lawyers in general in connection with the allegations.

Under pressure, FIFA has also undergone major changes within its organization in areas including to governance, compliance and finance functions.

Changes resulting from the internal investigation are to be highlighted in a report in late April.

By John Bagratuni and Florian Luetticke

© 2017 dpa GmbH

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