Russia, Qatar Could Be Stripped of World Cups

Swiss investigators announce massive bank investigation
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 17, 2015 7:18 AM CDT
Russia, Qatar Could Be Stripped of World Cups
In this May 27, 2015, photo, two people are reflected in the FIFA logo at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich.   (Michael Probst)

Banks in Switzerland have reported 53 possible acts of money laundering in the investigation of FIFA's 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests, the country's attorney general said today. Michael Lauber described a "huge and complex" case that targets "criminal mismanagement and money laundering" in the bidding contests, which sent the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar. Lauber is prepared for either country to be stripped of the hosting rights if new evidence proves wrongdoing.

"I don't mind if this has some collateral (damage) somewhere else," he said, addressing the media for the first time since the Swiss investigation into FIFA was announced three weeks ago. Lauber said he "does not exclude" interviewing FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Secretary General Jerome Valcke in the future, though they're not currently under suspicion. Blatter is also a target of a separate investigation of bribery and racketeering led by US federal agencies, who are working with Swiss authorities. (Blatter announced he's stepping down once a successor is named.)

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