7 FIFA officials arrested

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fifa-officials-arrested.jpgSeven senior officials at football's governing body, FIFA, were arrested in Zurich on Wedneslday, as part of two criminal probes into corruption.

Those arrested include Jeffrey Webb, current Fifa vice president for the Concacaf region. His predecesor, Austin 'Jack' Warner, has reportedly been indicted. Those arrested also include Costa Rica's national football chief Eduardo Li, president of South American football governing body, Conmeb, Uruguay's Eugenio Figueredo, and Brazil's Jose Maria Marin, who is a member of Fifa's Club Committee.

Warner, a former national security minister in Trinidad & Tobago, is seeking re-election to that country's national parliament in general elections, expected to be called shortly. Swiss prosecutors have also launched a separate criminal case into the bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, to be held in Russia and Qatar respectively.

The US Justice Department says nine football officials are among 14 people indicted on corruption charges. The suspects allegedly accepted bribes worth US$150 million over 20 years.

Fifa members are due to vote Friday in a presidential election where Sepp Blatter, the incumbent is seeking a fifth term Blatter is not among those being charged, but officials say he is among those being investigated in the ongoing probe.Fifa's Zurich headquarters has also been raided and documents seized.

The US Department of Justice says several officials have already pleaded guilty, including Charles 'Chuck' Blazer, the former general secretary of Concacaf.

Meanwhile, a search warrant is being executed at Concacaf's Headquarters in Miami Beach, with FBI agents seen removing bags of documents and computers.

Much of the U.S. enquiry is focused on the CONCACAF region, which governs football in the Caribbean, North America, and the Central America.

Warner was regularly dogged by accusations of corruption before he resigned in 2011, at which point FIFA terminated its investigations of him.The U.S. criminal case will allow courts to look into matters that in the past had been investigated, mainly by FIFA's own internal ethics committee, answerable to itself.

American law gives its courts broad powers to investigate crimes committed by foreigners on foreign soil if money passes through U.S. banks or other activities take place there.

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