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Two FIFA Vice-presidents Arrested

A Swiss criminal investigation into the bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups has also been launched alongside the US inquiry.

Published: 03rd December 2015 10:22 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd December 2015 10:22 PM   |  A+A-

By IANS

ZURICH: FIFA vice-presidents Alfredo Hawit and Juan Angel Napout were arrested on Thursday at a hotel here on suspicion that they had accepted around a million dollars in bribes.

While Honduran Hawit is the interim president of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf), Paraguayan Napout serves as the president of the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol).

Reports say they were arrested from the Baur au Lac hotel here, where in May several other top officials, including another two vice-presidents, were arrested at the same Zurich hotel at the request of US authorities.

Presently, a two-day meeting of FIFA's executive committee is taking place in the city to vote on reforms.

The Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FoJ) alleged that the duo who were apprehended had taken bribes in relation to selling marketing rights of football leagues in South America and World Cup qualifying games.

"The two FIFA officials arrested in Zurich on the instructions of the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) were today also given hearings by the Zurich cantonal police on the United States arrest requests. They are opposing their extradition to the US," the Swiss FoJ said in its website on Thursday.

"According to the US arrest requests, they are suspected of accepting bribes of millions of dollars. The FOJ will now ask the US to submit formal extradition requests within the 40-day deadline laid down in the bilateral extradition treaty," it added.

A Swiss criminal investigation into the bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups has also been launched alongside the US inquiry.

FIFA said they will abide by what the investigation and co-operate with it.

"FIFA became aware of the actions taken today by the US Department of Justice," football's world governing body said in a statement on Thursday.

"FIFA will continue to co-operate fully with the US investigation as permitted by Swiss law, as well as with the investigation being led by the Swiss Office of the Attorney General."

"FIFA will have no further comment on today's developments," it added.

According to BBC, FIFA's reform committee chairman Francois Carrard said at a news conference that the arrests were "a very important step" as part of changes "so FIFA can renew itself".

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