The global police organization has issued “international wanted person alerts” at the request of US authorities, who have charged the two former FIFA officials and four corporate executives with racketeering, conspiracy, and corruption.
The so-called red notices are not arrest warrants—Interpol can’t issue those—but they notify the agency’s global member countries that another judicial authority has issued an arrest warrant of its own.
Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner has been arrested in his home country of Trinidad and Tobago and then released, while former executive committee member Nicolás Leoz is under house arrest in Paraguay. The other men on the list are three Argentinian sports marketing executives accused of paying more than $100 million in bribes for media rights, and a Brazilian broadcasting executive.
The world soccer’s governing body is embroiled in the biggest corruption scandal in its history, which prompted long-time FIFA president Sepp Blatter to resign yesterday (June 2), just four days after he was re-elected for a fifth term. Blatter is now the target of a federal investigation over corruption by the US justice department, the New York Times reports.
The key development that appears to have finally pushed Blatter out of the door is evidence that his top deputy, FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke, was aware of a $10 million dollar payment to Jack Warner from the South African Football Association (SAFA) for Warner’s vote for the country’s 2010 World Cup bid. The payment was purportedly for a “diaspora legacy program,” but US officials allege that it was in fact a bribe.
At a press conference on Wednesday (June 3), South Africa’s sports minister Fikile Mbalula insisted that his country did not secure the World Cup through bribery, according to the BBC.