FIFA and INTERPOL, together again- U.S. charges FIFA officials and obtains Red Notices against them

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that FIFA has been dealing with a scandal lately: the U.S. government has charged multiple individuals with ties to FIFA with expansive criminal violations, and INTERPOL has issued Red Notices for six of those people.

FIFA and INTERPOL have had extensive dealings with one another before, but in a very different manner. Interestingly enough, in 2011, FIFA made a 20 million euro donation to INTERPOL to help combat match-fixing.  We discussed the goals of the donation here.

Now, however, the international focus has shifted from those collaborative anti-corruption efforts to the allegations of corrupt activities by multiple FIFA officials and businessmen connected to FIFA.  In the indictment, the U.S. government alleges that the crimes were committed in the context of banking, commercial and investment activity that took place in both the U.S. and abroad.  Federal prosecutors charged the defendants with numerous counts of racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering, unlawful procurement of naturalization, and obstruction of justice.  Those charges provide the grounds for the Red Notices.

INTERPOL issued a statement regarding the Red Notices, and named each of the Red Notice subjects:

The Red Notices have been issued for;

Jack Warner, Trinidad & Tobago national, former FIFA vice president and executive committee member, CONCACAF president, CFU president and Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) special adviser.

Nicolás Leoz, Paraguayan national, former FIFA executive committee member and CONMEBOL president.

Alejandro Burzaco, Argentine national, controlling principal of Torneos y Competencias S.A., a sports marketing business based in Argentina, and its affiliates.

Hugo Jinkis and Mariano Jinkis, Argentine nationals, controlling principals of Full Play Group S.A., a sports marketing business based in Argentina, and its affiliates.

José Margulies (also known as José Lazaro), Brazilian national, controlling principal of Valente Corp. and Somerton Ltd., broadcasting businesses.

The Red Notice subjects’ responses have varied from silence by most of the subjects to Jack Warner’s alleged threats to reveal presumably inculpatory information against others.

Should Mr. Warner and the other Red Notice subjects decide to fight their Red Notices, they face an uphill battle.  Any Red Notice challenge is difficult, and those originating from the United States, like other relatively non-corrupt countries, will likely provide fewer grounds for removal of the Red Notice than more corrupt countries that have records of rampant due process and human rights violations.

In terms of INTERPOL’s relationship with FIFA, it has been reported that INTERPOL is reviewing its financial arrangement with the organization; Red Notice Law Journal has requested verification of this report and will provide updates as they become available.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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