Swiss hand over evidence to US in FIFA case

Swiss hand over evidence to US in FIFA case
Posted at 10:02 AM, Dec 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-30 10:02:13-05

BERN, Switzerland (AP) — Swiss authorities handed over bank documents related to the FIFA corruption scandal to their American counterparts on Wednesday.

The Federal Office of Justice said the package of evidence will be used in the criminal investigation against several soccer officials suspected of bribery and other offenses.

"It relates to bank accounts allegedly used for bribes connected with the grant of marketing rights to soccer tournaments in Latin America and the USA," the Swiss office said in a statement.

Records related to sports marketing agency ISL have also been requested. The FOJ said the documents they have are being reviewed to determine if they are relevant to the American investigation.

The American probe into the ISL scandal, which plunged FIFA into crisis at the time, is believed to be targeting suspended FIFA President Sepp Blatter. ISL was found to have routinely bribed top sports officials, including Blatter predecessor Joao Havelange, before collapsing into criminal bankruptcy in 2001.

Earlier this month, Blatter was suspended for eight years by the FIFA ethics committee in a separate case. UEFA President Michel Platini was also suspended.

The Swiss authorities also said they froze $80 million in assets in 13 bank accounts. They said they will remain frozen until legal proceedings have been concluded.

"The U.S. authorities can apply to have these assets handed over if they have a legally valid and enforceable seizure ruling from a U.S. court," the FOJ said.

FIFA has said it is cooperating to provide "all relevant information" to the ongoing American and Swiss investigations.

The Swiss also said four men in their custody, some of them arrested in May during an early morning raid at a luxury Zurich hotel, continue to oppose extradition to the United States.