Two FIFA vice-presidents are in custody in Switzerland after they were arrested on suspicion of ‘having received bribes of millions of dollars’ in a dawn raid on Zurich’s Baur au Lac hotel.
Sources inside FIFA say as many as 16 football officials may be arrested, or have already been arrested, on Thursday in the latest purge of football corruption by the US Department of Justice.
FIFA vice-presidents Alfredo Hawit of Honduras and Juan Angel Napout of Paraguay are the two men widely identified as being arrested at 6am on orders issued by the Swiss Federal Office of Justice on behalf of the US DoJ. Both are opposing their extradition to the States.
Thursday’s was the second swoop on the luxury hotel this year and relates to allegations of taking bribes in return for selling marketing rights in connection with football tournaments in Latin America and World Cup qualifying matches.
Brazil football president Marco Polo del Nero, who fled back to his country immediately after the May arrests at the Baur au Lac, is also understood to have been arrested as part of the latest raids.
Hawit and Napout sat on FIFA’s highest decision-making board, the executive committee, on Wednesday but will now be missing from Friday’s meetings when the latest reforms of football’s governing body are expected to be ratified.
Other arrests in connection with the case are expected around the world on Thursday and the US DoJ are also expected to indict more officials on bribery and corruption charges.
Law enforcement officials said the list of those arrested does not include suspended pair FIFA president Sepp Blatter and his deputy Jerome Valcke.
The FOJ said in a statement: ‘On the instructions of the Federal Office of Justice FOJ, a further two FIFA officials were arrested in Zurich today, Thursday.
‘They are being held in custody pending their extradition. According to the US arrest requests, they are suspected of accepting bribes of millions of dollars.’