ZURICH – One week after an American investigation of soccer corruption erupted at FIFA, seven men remain detained in Zurich prison cells.
The seven officials — including two FIFA vice presidents, one member-elect of the FIFA executive committee and one FIFA staffer — were arrested in early morning hotel raids.
All face extradition to the United States in a process which could last months. Only then could they be questioned about involvement in alleged racketeering, money-laundering and wire fraud in a $150 million bribe scheme spanning more than two decades.
Here are some things to know about the ongoing legal process in Switzerland:
The seven in Zurich have until next Monday to appeal being detained by Swiss authorities.
Their best chance of being released on bail lies with their lawyers either finding flaws in how American and Swiss agencies processed and handled the arrests, or a lenient judge.
"Release on bail is possible, but it's very, very rare," said Folco Galli, spokesman for the Swiss Federal Office of Justice in Bern.
The next deadline in the Swiss extradition process is July 3.
The U.S. must submit its formal extradition request by then and may be in no hurry to do so.
All seven detainees could be feeling a long way from their home countries in South and Central America and residences in the U.S.
"We will publish a press release as soon as these requests have been submitted," Galli said Wednesday.
The Swiss justice office will examine the merits of each request and likely issue an extradition order within a month or two.
One condition is that the allegations each faces in the U.S. would also be punishable in Switzerland.
The Swiss authorities will not have an opinion on the likely guilt or innocence of each detainee. That is for the American courts to decide, Galli said.
An order granted can be appealed to the Swiss Criminal Court in Bellinzona, in the Italian-border canton (state) of Ticino. A further appeal route goes to the Swiss Federal Tribunal in Lausanne.
That whole process could last at least six months, depending on how much resistance is put up by the seven.
SEPP BLATTER'S POSITION
The outgoing FIFA president will not be detained in his home country on behalf of American prosecutors. As a Swiss national, Blatter cannot be extradited by Switzerland.
Still, the 79-year-old Blatter becomes more exposed if traveling abroad where a warrant for his arrest and extradition could be sought by the U.S.
FIFA tournaments are being played this month in New Zealand and Canada.
Under normal circumstances, FIFA protocol would require Blatter to attend the Under-20 World Cup final in Auckland on June 20 and the Women's World Cup final on July 5 in Vancouver.
FIFA said Wednesday that Blatter does not have any confirmed travel plans in the next two weeks.
WORLD CUP CASE
In a separate case, Swiss federal authorities are looking at possible criminal mismanagement and money-laundering in FIFA's decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.
Swiss police last week questioned some of the 10 non-Swiss residents who voted in the process and still held their FIFA seats.
On Wednesday, the Swiss attorney general's office said it could not confirm which of the 10 were spoken to as "persons providing information."
One voter who claims not to have been spoken to is FIFA senior vice president Issa Hayatou of Cameroon. Hayatou, the Confederation of African Football president, told media in his home country this week that no authorities approached him in Switzerland.
After Blatter announced his resignation on Tuesday, the Swiss agency confirmed that he was not involved in its case
"His announced resignation will have no influence on the ongoing criminal proceedings," the attorney general's office said.