United States officials unsealed a 236-page indictment on Thursday that described charges against some of the most powerful leaders of international soccer, including the current and former presidents of Brazil’s national federation and top executives of FIFA, the sport’s governing body.
The new charges hit South and Central American soccer leaders particularly hard.
The unsealed indictment lists the 16 new defendants: Alfredo Hawit; Ariel Alvarado; Rafael Callejas; Brayan Jiménez; Rafael Salguero; Héctor Trujillo; Reynaldo Vasquez; Juan Ángel Napout; Manuel Burga; Carlos Chávez; Luís Chiriboga; Marco Polo del Nero; Eduardo Deluca; José Luis Meiszner; Romer Osuna; Ricardo Teixeira.
Mr. Callejas is the former president of Honduras.
About 14 hours before the indictment was unsealed, Swiss authorities conducted predawn arrests in the broad investigation, led by United States officials, into corruption in international soccer. By day’s end, a huge case that has upended FIFA had nearly doubled in size.
Some of the arrests took place at the same luxury hotel where other FIFA officials were arrested in May. The Swiss police entered the hotel, the Baur au Lac, through a side door at 6 a.m. local time. A hotel manager told visitors in the lobby they had to leave the property because of “an extreme situation.”
The police were targeting current and former senior soccer officials on charges that include racketeering, money laundering and fraud, authorities said.
Mr. Hawit is the president of Concacaf, the regional confederation that includes North and Central America and the Caribbean. Mr. Napout is the president of Conmebol, the South American confederation. Both are FIFA vice presidents and members of the organization’s governing executive committee.
Mr. Teixeira is a former president of the Brazil soccer federation, and Mr. del Nero is that federation’s current president.
Hours before the Justice Department disclosed that he too was indicted, Mr. Callejas, the president of Honduras in the early 1990s and former general secretary of the nation’s soccer federation, denied he was implicated and voiced regret that Mr. Hawit was implicated in the case.
Source: The New York Times | REBECCA R. RUIZ, MATT APUZZO, SAM BORDEN and WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM