U.S. Justice Dept. to bring corruption charges against FIFA officials
KONFRONTASI-The U.S. Justice Department plans to announce corruption charges against senior officials at FIFA, the world's soccer governing body, law enforcement officials say.
Up to 14 people are expected to be charged Wednesday based on an indictment in federal court in New York.
Arrests were being made overnight in Zurich, where members of the scandal-plagued organization were gathering for an election Friday that could give its leader Sepp Blatter a fifth term.
Blatter isn't among those being charged, the officials say. But he was among those investigated, and officials say that part of the probe continues.
Current and officials seen as close to Blatter are expected to be among those who face indictments.
The identities of those charged couldn't be learned.
The charges are a result of a three-year FBI investigation.
FIFA has been at the center of corruption investigations for years. But the organization has long dismissed allegations that top officials were on the take.
In December, FIFA's ethics committee said it was closing its investigation into alleged corruption in the 2018 and 2022 bidding process that awarded the World Cup to Russia and Qatar, respectively.
The group said its investigation found no corruption and it has no reason to reopen the bidding process.
But the FBI wasn't ready to do the same.
The U.S. investigation accelerated after former U.S. prosecutor, Michael Garcia, who was hired by FIFA to do an internal investigation distanced himself from FIFA's claims of finding no corruption.
In 2011, the FIFA banned for life Mohamed bin Hammam, a Qatari member of its top governing body, for ethics violations.
Part of the issue for U.S. authorities is establishing U.S. legal jurisdiction for alleged crimes that largely occurred outside the United States.
However, prosecutors believe the broad reach of U.S. tax and banking regulations aid their ability to bring the charges.
In addition, U.S. authorities claim jurisdiction because the American television market, and billions paid by U.S. networks, is the largest for the World Cup.[mr/cnn]