Ex-FIFA chief Chuck Blazer among 4 to plead guilty in $100m corruption case
Chuck Blazer is among four men to have already pleaded guilty in the 2013 U.S. football corruption investigation involving bribes totalling more than $100 million.
Blazer, for nearly two decades the most senior American official at FIFA, was among those whose guilty pleas were unsealed Wednesday by U.S. authorities.
Blazer had pocketed millions of dollars in marketing commissions and avoided paying taxes. He has been a cooperating witness for the FBI since leaving soccer in 2013 and has forfeited almost $2 million.
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U.S. officials say guilty pleas were also given by Daryan Warner and Daryll Warner, the sons of former senior FIFA official Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago; and Jose Hawilla, an executive of the Brazil-based sports marketing firm Traffic Sports.
U.S. officials say Hawilla has agreed to forfeit over $151 million.
They face maximum jail terms of incarceration of 20 years for "the RICO conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy, money laundering and obstruction of justice charges."
The news follows Swiss authorities arresting several top FIFA officials on Wednesday and planning to extradite them to the United States, where they will face federal corruption charges.
The FIFA presidential election will go ahead as planned on Friday, while the governing body has confirmed there will be no revotes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
The New York Times reported that more than a dozen plainclothes Swiss law enforcement officials arrived unannounced at Zurich's Baur au Lac hotel in the early hours of Wednesday morning as leaders of FIFA gathered for their annual meeting.
The charges allege there has been widespread corruption throughout football's governing body over the past 20 years, involving bids for World Cups as well as marketing and broadcast deals.
Officials arrested included vice presidents Jeffrey Webb and Eugenio Figueredo, former executive committee member Jack Warner and Costa Rica federation president Eduardo Li. Fourteen people -- nine football officials and five sports-marketing executives -- are named in the indictment and face charges of wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering.
"The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States," U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said. "It 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."