9 terabytes of FIFA evidence seized: prosecutor

(R Reports) – Switzerland’s attorney general said on Wednesday (June 17) 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.

“I am well aware of the enormous public interest in our investigation. Equally enormous is the public interest in an independent criminal procedure. Our 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. So far, our investigative team obtained evidence concerning 104 banking relations, and be aware that every banking relation represents several bank accounts,” Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber said at a news conference in Berne.

He 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 and declined to offer a timetable for developments in his investigation.

“The world of football needs to be patient. By its nature, this investigation will take more than the legendary 90 minutes. Be assured, the OAG will give priority to this case and will act according to the principles of the rule of law. There will be formal interviews of all relevant people. By definition, this does not exclude interviewing the president of FIFA and this does not exclude interviewing the secretary-general of FIFA,” he added.

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.