“The World Cup of fraud” continued on Thursday, as 16 more soccer officials from CONMEBOL and CONCACAF, the respective confederations of South American, and North and Central America and the Caribbean, were arrested and hit with a 92-count indictment featuring charges of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering.
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The 92-count indictment, unsealed and announced on Thursday by United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch, also features superseding charges for a number of officials arrested and charged with similar crimes back in May.
Most notable of those arrested and charged on Thursday were current CONCACAF and CONMEBOL presidents, Alfredo Hawitt and Juan Angel Napout, respectively. The two confederations worked together closely to organize the 2016 Copa America Centenario, a tournament heavily linked to corruption and bribes, on U.S. soil in the summer of 2016.
The quote of all quotes from Thursday’s press conference, from Lynch — quotes from the Guardian:
“The betrayal of trust set forth here is outrageous. The scale of corruption alleged herein is unconscionable. And the message from this announcement should be clear to every culpable individual who remains in the shadows, hoping to evade our investigation: you will not wait us out. You will not escape our focus.”
Additionally, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that eight others, including three of the defendants arrested and charged in May, a list which includes former CONCACAF president and FIFA vice president Jeffrey Webb, have already entered guilty pleas and, in some cases, agreed to assist the DOJ as the increasingly wide-reaching case continues into 2016 and beyond.
One official speaking in Thursday’s press conference called the Internal Revenue Service’s investigation into the FIFA corruption case “one of the most complex worldwide financial investigations ever conducted.”
Lynch refused to comment on currently-suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter in regards to Thursday’s arrests and charges, but confirmed once again that the DOJ’s investigation is far from complete.