FIFA Corruption Investigation: Quotes from FBI, Attorney General Press Briefing

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2015

AP Images

In the wake of raids and arrests in Switzerland relating to corruption within the FIFA ranks, per the New York Times (via ESPN FC), U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey and U.S. Attorney Kelly Currie discussed the investigation during a press conference Wednesday.

According to ESPN FC, seven FIFA officials were arrested and 14 were indicted for their alleged role in a long-running bribery scandal. Per First Coast News, Lynch does not believe those involved did their jobs in terms of protecting the integrity of soccer:

First Coast News @FCN2go

Lynch: People arrested were entrusted to keep soccer "open to all". "Were expected to uphold the rules." http://t.co/4oVDovjEsV

Per the BBC's Jon Sopel, Lynch revealed the officials in question made decisions meant only to pad their bank accounts:

Jon Sopel @BBCJonSopel

Loretta Lynch #FIFAarrests news conf underway. 14 indicted "corrupted the business of worldwide soccer...to enrich themselves"

Prior to Wednesday's briefing, charts were posted showing the manner in which FIFA's alleged bribery took place, per Nick Bryant of BBC New York:

Nick Bryant @NickBryantNY

Ahead of the Dept of Justice #FIFA press conference, prosecutors put up diagrams showing alleged bribery scheme http://t.co/YWYrtkssas

Lynch additionally made it clear that the United States took the lead in ending the alleged corruption since the officials are accused of skirting the U.S. financial system, per Ben Rumsby of the Daily Telegraph:

Ben Rumsby @ben_rumsby

Attorney general says accused officials "abused the US financial system and violated US law and we intend to hold them accountable". #fifa

The attorney general ran down several of the accusations against the FIFA officials, including voter fraud regarding the 2010 World Cup and the 2011 FIFA presidential race, according to Owen Gibson of the Guardian:

Owen Gibson @owen_g

Case extends to bribes to affect the World Cup 2010 vote, the 2011 presidential bid and sports marketing deal between Brazil and Nike.

Lynch also made mention of some specific bribes that are alleged to have occurred, including one involving the Copa America Centenario coming up in 2016, per ESPN's Taylor Twellman:

Taylor Twellman @TaylorTwellman

$110M of bribes related to Copa America Centenario in USA #FiFA

According to Cindy Poluta of EWN Sport, Currie made mention of the fact that the corruption investigation does not involve the 2014 World Cup in Brazil:

Cindy Poluta @CindyPoluta

#FIFA Currie: Our investigation does not include the 2014 World Cup. The FBI won't tolerate this corruption

The investigation has also taken aim at corruption within sports marketing, as FIFA vice president Jeffrey Webb is accused of taking part in bribery within that realm:

Ben Rumsby @ben_rumsby

Fifa vice-president Jeffrey Webb accused of abusing his position to "solicit and collect bribes from sports marketing executives". #fifa

Comey took to the podium as well and had some extremely harsh words for those who are alleged to have taken part in FIFA's corruption.

According to ABC's Jon Williams, Comey believes the game of soccer was plagued by unfairness:

Jon Williams @WilliamsJon

FBI Director Comey: Nobody is above or beyond the law. Soccer is beautiful game because pitch is flat. Game was hijacked, field tilted #FIFA

Per Karolos Grohmann of Reuters, Comey made it clear that the United States justice system would not allow the corruption to continue:

Karolos Grohmann @karolosgrohmann

FBI: "if you touch our shores with your corrupt enterprise you'll be held accountable for that corruption." #FIFA #FIFAarrests

There has been no indication that FIFA President Sepp Blatter is in danger of being arrested or indicted, although no specifics were provided regarding his status:

Ben Rumsby @ben_rumsby

Attorney general refuses to comment on @SeppBlatter status, other than to say FBI investigation is ongoing. #fifa

In the eyes of Henry Winter of the Daily Telegraph, however, Blatter deserves some blame for the alleged scandal that occurred right in front of his face:

Henry Winter @henrywinter

US Attorney General shreds #fifa. Systematic wrongdoing on Blatter's watch. He may not be 'guilty' but in any other industry he'd be history

FIFA and many of its top officials are receiving their comeuppance for their alleged misdeeds, but Currie revealed there is more to come, per ESPN.com's Jeff Carlisle:

Jeff Carlisle @JeffreyCarlisle

"This is the beginning of our effort, not the end," says U.S. Attorney Kelly T. Currie. That is the key here, IMO. #FIFA

ESPN soccer announcer Ian Darke is among those who support the decision to attack corruption within the sport:

Ian Darke @IanDarke

Football owes Justice Dept, FBI , IRS huge debt of gratitude for expose of FIFA " culture of corruption ".

Jonathan Tannenwald of Philly.com shared the full statement from the Department of Justice following the press conference.

Corruption within soccer's governing body has long been suspected by those on the outside looking in, and based on Wednesday's press conference, there is no doubt that many of the heavy hitters within the American justice system believe there is enough evidence to prove it.

With so many high-profile people involved in this situation, one can only assume a lengthy process is ahead in terms of determining their guilt or innocence.

Lynch, Comey and Currie all made it abundantly clear Wednesday they intend to do everything in their power to ensure those who allegedly partook in FIFA's corruption will pay the price.

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.


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