The Swiss attorney general, Michael Lauber, is looking into banking links relating to Fifa as part of a corruption investigation into the football world governing body.
Data and documents stored in Fifa’s computer systems were seized by Swiss officials last month as part of criminal proceedings relating to the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups which were awarded to Russia and Qatar.
At a news conference, the attorney general said the “investigation is of great complexity and quite substantial. To give you an example, the OAG (Office of the Attorney General) has seized around nine terabytes of data.” Nine terabytes is one terabyte less than the entire collection of printed works of the U.S Library of Congress, according to estimates on its website.
The attorney general said 104 relationships between banks and their clients had been identified as being of interest after Swiss banks had filed suspicious activity reports. It is also looking at 53 suspicious transactions which were reported via Switzerland’s Financial Intelligence Unit, an anti-money laundering agency.
The FBI is also conducting its own investigation into allegations of corruption at Fifa. Last month seven Fifa figures were arrested in Switzerland at the request of US authorities. In total, nine football officials and five sports media and promotions executives face extradition to the United States on corruption charges, US authorities said. The investigation relates to allegations of bribery in world football dating back to the 1990s and adding up to $150mn [more than £95mn.]
Although the US investigation is ongoing, the Swiss attorney general said the “Swiss investigations are executed independently from the prosecutions of our US colleagues. Therefore, documents and data of our Swiss investigation will not be shared automatically with the US counterpart.”
Ten people are being interviewed in connection with the Swiss investigation and the attorney general has said he does not rule out speaking to Fifa’s president, Sepp Blatter and its secretary general Jerome Valcke. Sepp Blatter announced he was standing down as the head of Fifa earlier this month.
The Swiss prosecutor said that the huge amount of data seized from Fifa means that the investigation will be complex and ongoing. “The world of football needs to be patient,” Mr Lauber said, “by its nature, this investigation will take more than the legendary 90 minutes.”