ZURICH (Reuters) - The Swiss Justice Ministry has frozen millions of Swiss francs related to world soccer body FIFA, a spokesman said on Thursday, confirming a media report.
World soccer’s governing body is suffering the worst corruption scandal in its more than 100-year history, with 41 entities and people including soccer bosses from throughout the Americas charged by U.S. prosecutors and FIFA President Sepp Blatter suspended from his post pending a full investigation.
“U.S. authorities asked for documents related to 50 accounts at different banks, through which corruption money is supposed to have transited,” Swiss Justice Ministry spokesman Folco Galli said, confirming a report by Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger.
In a statement, Galli said a “high double-digit million amount” had been frozen following the U.S. request to authorities in Switzerland, where FIFA is based.
Blatter and European ((UEFA) soccer chief Michel Platini have both been provisionally suspended for 90 days over a suspicious payment made to Platini, pending a thorough investigation. Both men have proclaimed their innocence.
Thursday’s announcement came a day after officials said German prosecutors had asked Switzerland to help look into a suspicious payment linked to Germany’s hosting of the 2006 World Cup, including by sifting through bank data.
“The justice ministry has recently passed on the request for administrative assistance from the prosecutor in Frankfurt to the Swiss attorney general’s office so it can deal with it,” Galli said. “The ... ministry has not received any other requests for administrative assistance related to FIFA.”
($1 = 0.9953 Swiss francs)
Reporting by Oliver Hirt and Silke Koltrowitz; Writing by Dominic Evans; Editing by Mark Heinrich