Switzerland’s Attorney General has received 133 suspicious activity reports from its anti-money laundering office that are related to the controversial awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar by soccer officials.
The number of bank accounts under scrutiny by Swiss investigators appears to be rising as the transatlantic probe into corruption widens at FIFA, soccer’s global governing body. However, a spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor couldn’t say how the figures compare with the 53 FIFA-related banking activities and 104 banking relationships Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber announced at a press conference in June.
Lauber is leading a Swiss criminal investigation into what role bribery or other corruption played in the decision to give Russia and Qatar the tournaments. An investigation by the Department of Justice into corruption at FIFA itself deepened Dec. 3 with the Zurich arrest of two more South American soccer officials, bringing the number of officials and executives indicted to more than 30.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, head of the European soccer federation UEFA were both suspended by FIFA for 90 days in October as the Swiss attorney general investigates a 2 million Swiss franc ($2 million) payment Blatter made to Platini.
Both have said they are innocent of any wrongdoing. Platini, a leading candidate to replace Blatter before his suspension, will go before the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s Ethics Committee later this week to make his case.
The figure of 133 was reported earlier by Reuters.