Grabbed Top FIFA officials arrested on corruption charges

Top football officials were arrested in Zurich on Tuesday evening to face criminal corruption charges in the United States.

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The United States Justice Department has indicted more than a dozen top FIFA executives on charges of corruption, according to multiple reports Tuesday night.

The charges, a result of an extensive investigation into soccer's multi-billion-dollar governing body, include wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering spanning the last two decades, according to the New York Times, which was the first to report the story. Law enforcement officials plan to announce the charges as early as Wednesday morning.

As many as 14 arrests are expected to be made in connection with the crimes, CNN reported. The report said those people will be indicted Wednesday in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y. Some of the charges to those living abroad would result in extradition to the United States.

The Justice Department is working with authorities in Switzerland, where FIFA is headquartered, to coordinate arrests.

FIFA, which reported a revenue of $5.7 billion from 2011 to 2014, has been the subject of corruption allegations for years. The latest corruption charges involve bids for World Cups in addition to marketing and broadcast deals, the New York Times report said. Possibly as important, they come just three days before FIFA was scheduled to hold its presidential election.

Longtime president Sepp Blatter, who officials said was not charged, was expected to be easily elected to his fifth term. But the scandal, the latest under Blatter's command, is likely to leave a major smudge on his reputation and could potentially impact the election.

In December, an internal investigation launched by FIFA into allegations of corrupted bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup found no evidence to support the claims. The bids were awarded to Russia and Qatar, respectively.

A whistleblower who worked for the Qatar bid team alleged several African officials were paid $1.5 million each to support Qatar. That came after, in 2011, FIFA issued a lifetime ban to Mohamed bin Hammam, a Qatari member of its top governing body, citing ethics violations.

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