(Images) FIFA officials arrested on corruption charges: Extradition to USA awaits

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Swiss authorities carried out a raid operation in the early hours of Wednesday morning to arrest several top FIFA officials to extradite them to the United States and hit them with federal corruption charges, the New York Times reports.

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A number of high-ranking FIFA delegates all got together at Zurich’s Baur au Lac hotel for an annual meeting, only to be intercepted by plain clothes policemen, who arrived at the hotel unannounced to pick the door keys up from the front desk at reception.

One of the men arrested is thought to be Eduardo Li of Costa Rica, who was led away from his room peacefully, and put into the awaiting squad car without handcuffs and allowed to take his luggage.

The charges are alleging that corruption has been widespread within the organisation over the past 20 years and stretch everywhere from bids for World Cups to marketing and broadcasting deals.

Three law enforcement officers are said to have intimate knowledge of several aspects of the case, which also include wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering.

The threat to Sep Blatter could soon become very real as prosecutors also planned to snare Jeffrey Webb of the Cayman Islands and Eugenio Figueredo of Uruguay, who are both executive committee vice presidents, and Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago.

“We’re struck by just how long this went on for and how it touched nearly every part of what FIFA did,” said a law enforcement official.

“It just seemed to permeate every element of the federation and was just their way of doing business. It seems like this corruption was institutionalised.”

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