The FIFA soccer scandal continues to widen as reports surfaced late Tuesday that the FBI and U.S. prosecutors are investigating Sepp Blatter, who announced his resignation on Tuesday, as part of a wide ranging probe into the corrupt world soccer body’s conduct.
While the FBI declined to comment because the investigation is ongoing, ABC News reported that investigators were hoping to use those indicted to provide specific information that could lead to charges against senior executives including Mr. Blatter. The tactic has been successfully used by federal agents in mob racketeering cases.
U.S. authorities last week indicted 14 people — nine football officials and five sports-marketing executives — who face charges of wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering. They are accused of accepting more than $150 million in bribes.
“Now that people are going to want to save themselves, there’s probably a race to see who will flip on [Blatter] first,” one of the sources stated.
“We may not be able to collapse the whole organisation, but maybe you don’t need to,” another of the sources said.
Curiously, a report by E:60’s Jeremy Schaap found no record of Blatter having entered the U.S. since 2011. Criminals will often avoid passing through the U.S. if they have reason to believe they are under investigation, as they could be arrested and detained until the matter is resolved because of flight risk.
Last week’s indictments charged 14 with corruption, bribery and racketeering. The charges are significant as the defendants could face lengthy jail terms for the serious offenses.