Swiss prosecutor says FIFA bid investigation substantial and complex

Switzerland is particularly focused on the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups respectively to Russia and Qatar.

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Switzerland’s attorney general said on Wednesday his office had seized around nine terabytes of data as part of a sweeping investigation into allegations of bribery and corruption at world soccer’s governing body FIFA.

Michael Lauber told journalists he would not rule out interviewing FIFA President Sepp Blatter and General Secretary Jerome Valcke, though no individuals were being targeted at the moment.

“Our investigation is of great complexity and quite substantial,” he said in his first public comments since his office seized FIFA computer data last month.

“So far our investigative team obtained evidence concerning 104 banking relations (relationships between banks and clients). And be aware that every banking relation represents several bank accounts,” Lauber added in Berne.

Sepp Blatter announced he planned to step down as the head of the Swiss-based organisation earlier this month as U.S. and Swiss authorities widened their investigations.

Switzerland is particularly focused on the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups respectively to Russia and Qatar.

Asked whether the Swiss investigation could derail Russia’s plans, Lauber said that decision was not his problem.

He said that transactions investigators were looking at included 53 which had been flagged in suspicious activity reports by Switzerland’s Financial Intelligence Unit, an anti-money laundering agency.

Lauber added that his office had seized nine terabytes of data. By comparison, the U.S. Library of Congress has published estimates on its website that its entire collection of printed works amounts to 10 terabytes.

Lauber said his work was completely independent of ongoing investigations in the United States. While Switzerland had received and fulfilled a request for legal assistance from the United States, Switzerland had not asked for any such help in return, he added.

Lauber also said that while his investigation was looking closely at investigative materials generated by Michael Garcia, an American lawyer hired by FIFA as a special ethics investigator, the United States had not requested a copy of Garcia’s report.

Lauber declined to offer a timetable for developments in his investigation.

“I don’t care about the timetable of FIFA, I only care about my own timetable,” Lauber told journalists.

He said he had no complaints about FIFA’s cooperation to date.

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