Interpol has placed six people, including two former FIFA officials and four corporate executives, on its most wanted list on racketeering and corruption charges at the request of US authorities.
The former FIFA officials are ex-vice president Jack Warner and former FIFA executive committee member, Nicolás Leoz.
Meanwhile, FIFA President Sepp Blatter is being investigated by US authorities as part of their corruption inquiry into football’s governing body, the New York Times (NYT) has reported.
Blatter, who announced on Tuesday that he will be resigning from his position, has not been directly implicated in the parallel US and Swiss criminal investigations into FIFA, which were announced last week
Unidentified US law enforcement officials, however, told the NYT that “they were hoping to win the cooperation of some of the FIFA officials now under indictment and work their way up the organisation” in a bid to build a case against Blatter.
Nine FIFA officials and five business executives were indicted by the US last Wednesday on corruption charges, with seven arrested in Zurich ahead of FIFA’s annual congress on Friday.
Blatter announced his decision to resign on Tuesday, just four days after the congress that saw him win a fifth term as the body’s president.
“I cherish FIFA more than anything and I want to do only what is best for FIFA and for football,” Blatter said at a news conference in Zurich on Tuesday.
“FIFA needs a profound overhaul. I have decided to lay down my mandate at an extraordinary elective Congress.
“I will continue to exercise my functions as FIFA president until that election.”
Domenico Scala, head of FIFA’s independent audit and compliance committee, said there would need to be four months’ notice for any new presidential election.
At the FIFA meeting in Zurich last Friday, Blatter, 79, had been re-elected when his only rival, Jordan’s Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, withdrew after gaining 73 votes to Blatter’s 133 in the first round of voting.
A day later, Blatter came out fighting, implying that the US timed the announcement of a major corruption probe to try to scupper his re-election bid.
Meanwhile, Switzerland’s Office of Attorney General (OAG) has confirmed that it is not investigating Blatter.
Swiss authorities have launched a separate criminal investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups that are set to be held in Russia and Qatar. (Al Jazeera)