Swiss Police Arrests Fifa Officials in Zurich
Six football officials have been arrested at a hotel in Zurich, Switzerland, over corruption charges at governing body Fifa, officials say.The suspects, who are said to include a Fifa vice-president, have been detained pending extradition to the US.
The charges include money laundering, racketeering and wire fraud.
Fifa members are gathering in Zurich for their annual meeting on Friday, where incumbent President Sepp Blatter is seeking a fifth term.
However, Mr Blatter is not understood to be one of those arrested.
The New York Times says plain-clothed police officers took the room keys from the reception of Baur au Lac hotel, where the officials were staying, and headed to their rooms. It said the operation was carried out peacefully.
Fifa Vice-President Jeffrey Webb has been named as one of the officials arrested, says the BBC’s Richard Conway, who is at the Zurich hotel. Mr Webb is head of the confederation for North and Central America and the Caribbean.
New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt said he also saw Fifa official Eduardo Li of Costa Rica being led by the authorities from his room out of the building.
A Fifa spokesman said the organisation was seeking to clarify the situation.
The Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) said in a statement on Wednesday that US authorities suspected the officials of receiving $100m worth of bribes since the early 1990s. The crimes were agreed to and prepared in the US via US bank accounts, it adds.
Swiss authorities can immediately approve the extradition, the statement continues.
The BBC has learned that Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan – Sepp Blatter’s rival for Fifa presidency – and his advisers will meet later on Wednesday to discuss the impact of the arrests on the presidential election this Friday.
Earlier this month, Mr Blatter said he was aware some of his former colleagues were under investigation.