Five current and former members of FIFA's ruling executive committee were among 16 additional men indicted on corruption charges Thursday as part of U.S. prosecutors' widening investigation into soccer corruption.
The indictment takes down an entire generation of soccer leaders in South America, a bedrock of FIFA and World Cup history.
"The betrayal of trust set forth here is outrageous," U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said. "The scale of corruption alleged herein is unconscionable."
Led away by Swiss federal police in a pre-dawn raid at a Zurich hotel were Juan Angel Napout of Paraguay, president of the South American confederation, and Alfredo Hawit of Honduras, head of the North and Central American and Caribbean governing body. The arrests — at the same hotel where the first raids happened in May — took place came just before FIFA's executive committee met to approve reform measures.
Ricardo Teixeira, a former Brazilian federation head, also was indicted. He is the former son-in-law of Joao Havelange, who was FIFA's president from 1974-98. In addition, former CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb and former executive committee member Luis Bedoya were among those whose guilty pleas were unsealed.
Eleven current and former members of FIFA's executive committee have now been charged in the investigation, which alleges hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks. The last three presidents of the regional bodies CONCACAF and CONMEBOL all have been indicted.
"The message from this announcement should be clear to every culpable individual who remains in the shadows, hoping to evade our investigation: You will not wait us out. You will not escape our focus," Lynch said.
Fourteen men were charged in May, when four additional guilty pleas were unsealed, with prosecutors alleging bribes involving the media and marketing rights for the Copa America, the CONCACAF Gold Cup and other competitions. Eight more guilty pleas were unsealed Thursday, when the Justice Department announced a 92-count superseding indictment that expands on the earlier charges.
Webb, who has been released on bail and is largely restricted to his home in Georgia, pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, three counts of wire fraud conspiracy and three counts of money laundering conspiracy. He agreed to forfeit more than $6.7 million.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter, elected that week to a fifth term, said June 2 he would leave office when a successor is chosen. Blatter has been suspended by FIFA as part of a separate investigation into a $2 million payment to European soccer head Michel Platini, who hoped to succeed him when FIFA's 209 member nations vote Feb. 26. Blatter also is under Swiss criminal proceedings.
Blatter and Platini face lifetime bans from soccer at ethics hearings expected this month. Lynch would not respond directly to Blatter's allegation that the inquiry resulted from U.S. anger at losing to Qatar when the executive committee chose the 2022 World Cup host.
The indictments list a who's who of soccer executives.
"We still have a number of avenues under investigation," Lynch said.
Among those charged were Marco Polo del Nero, a Brazilian who served on the executive committee from 2012 until last week; Rafael Salguero, a Guatemalan who left the executive committee in May; former South American confederation secretary general Eduardo Deluca; former Peru soccer federation president Manuel Burga; and current Bolivian soccer president Carlos Chaves, already jailed in his own country.
Napout and Hawit opposed extradition to the United States at Zurich police hearings, Switzerland's justice ministry said in a statement.
"According to the U.S. arrest requests, they are suspected of accepting bribes of millions of dollars," the justice ministry said. "Some of the offenses were agreed and prepared in the USA. Payments were also processed via U.S. banks."
The bribes are linked to marketing rights for the Copa America — including the 2016 edition hosted in the U.S. — and World Cup qualifying matches.
Once again, FIFA was shaken ahead of a key meeting of its international leaders, who were set to approve expanding the World Cup field from 32 to 40 starting in 2026.
The meeting did support some reforms in a process that responds to the dual American and Swiss federal investigations.
"Events underscore the necessity to establish a complete program of reforms for FIFA today," said interim FIFA President Issa Hayatou, who stepped in when Blatter was suspended.
Modernizing changes include taking many decision-making powers from the executive panel, to be renamed the FIFA Council with more men and women members. Future presidents and council members will be limited to 12 years in office and face stricter integrity checks. FIFA's 209 members are to vote on the changes on the same day they elect a new president.
Fernando Sarney, a FIFA executive committee member from Brazil, said the early-morning arrests tainted the meeting.
"It was like someone had died, that was the atmosphere inside," Sarney said. "Everybody was surprised, the feeling was like it's happening again, that it's something we think is personal."
The last six months have been the most turbulent period of Blatter's 17-year reign as FIFA president and have impacted on the governing body's billion-dollar annual business.
Asked about reports of a $100 million loss in 2015, acting secretary general Markus Kattner declined to say how much of FIFA's $1.5 billion reserves have been spent on legal bills and making up a shortfall from a failure to sign new World Cup sponsors.
"It is clear it's not an easy year," Kattner said at a news conference. "We had unforeseen additional costs, and also on the revenue side some challenges to cope with."
Blatter was re-elected as FIFA president on May 29, two days after a raid in Zurich by Swiss police resulted in seven officials being arrested and criminal proceedings being opened regarding "systematic and deep-rooted" corruption in soccer.