An FBI investigation led to the arrest Wednesday of seven top officials of FIFA, the organization that governs world soccer, in Switzerland.
Overall, 14 people will face 47 racketeering, corruption, money laundering and wire fraud charges. The investigation alleges, among other accusations, that members of FIFA’s executive committee accepted bribes for media deals, and sold their votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which will be held in Russia and Qatar.
The U.S. Department of Justice led the investigation because of American laws that grant it broad powers to investigate foreign nationals. Much of the investigation focuses on Concacaf, the FIFA sub-organization that oversees soccer in North and South America. CONCACAF is headquartered in Miami.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement that the investigation “spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.”