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16 Senior FIFA Officials Charged In Corruption Investigation

WASHINGTON D.C. (CelebrityAccess) — Federal prosecutors in the United States on Thursday leveled a new round of criminal charges against 16 high ranking FIFA officials, alleging that they were part of decades-long corrupt practices while overseeing the world's governing soccer body.

The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday announced a 92-count bill of charges that included allegations of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies, among other offenses, in connection with their participation in a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer.

Alfredo Hawit and Juan Ángel Napout – the current presidents of CONCACAF and CONMEBOL, as well as current FIFA vice presidents and executive committee members – are among the 16 additional soccer officials charged with racketeering and bribery offenses. CONCACAF and CONMEBOL are two of FIFA’s six continental confederations. The new defendants also include Marco Polo del Nero and Ricardo Teixeira, the current and former presidents of the Brazilian soccer federation, both of whom are also former members of the FIFA executive committee, as well as José Luís Meiszner and Eduardo Deluca, the current and former general secretaries of CONMEBOL.

Mssrs Hawit and Napout were both arrested in Switzerland, while attending FIFA meeting while Héctor Trujillo, the general secretary of the Guatemalan soccer federation and a judge on the Constitutional Court of Guatemala, was arrested by federal customs agents after the cruise ship he was traveling on docked in Miami on Thursday. A search warrant connected with the investigation was executed at Media World, a sports marketing company based in Miami.

Embattled FIFA president Sepp Blatter remains free from charges.

“The charges unsealed today send a clear message to those who corrupted a sport beloved by millions to satisfy their own greed: We are determined to put a stop to bribery and corruption in international soccer and to make room for a new era of integrity and reform,” said U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers. “This indictment is the latest step in that effort, but our work is not done. While our investigation continues at home, we also look forward to continuing our collaboration with our international partners, including in particular the Swiss authorities, because there is so much yet to be done.”