A high-ranking Fifa official has been identified by the FBI as a suspect in a £6.6m bribe paid in return for votes for 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa. A new indictment from the US Department of Justice refers to the official as ‘co-conspirator 17’. He is not named.
It states he made three payments to the now-disgraced former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner. The indictment emerged the day after 16 officials were charged by authorities investigating corruption at Fifa
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Fifa vice-presidents Alfredo Hawit and Juan Angel Napout were among that group and have since been suspended from all football-related activity for 90 days. The pair were arrested in Switzerland on Thursday at the request of the US authorities, on suspicion of accepting millions of dollars of bribes. The new indictment states the £6.6m paid was in return for World Cup votes by Warner and his deputy Chuck Blazer, who has pleaded guilty. In September, Warner was banned from football for life as Fifa’s ethics committee ruled he committed “many and various acts of misconduct continuously and repeatedly”.
Sixteen more officials have been charged by US authorities investigating corruption at Fifa.
The new indictment, released by the Department of Justice in Washington, came hours after the arrest of two Fifa vice-presidents in Zurich on Thursday. Former Brazil football federation chief Ricardo Teixeira was among those accused of being “involved in criminal schemes involving well over $200m (£132m) in bribes and kickbacks”. Fifa said it would “fully co-operate”.
Earlier, Concacaf president Alfredo Hawit and Conmebol president Juan Angel Napout were held in a dawn raid at a Swiss hotel, arrested on suspicion of accepting millions of dollars of bribes, at the request of the US authorities. Hawit, 64, is interim president for North, Central America and Caribbean football, while Napout, 57, oversees football in the South American confederation.
The Swiss hotel is the same location where several officials from world football’s governing body were arrested in May.