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Lefkaritis wanted for questioning in separate FIFA probe

Marios Lefkaritis

By George Psyllides

Cypriot FIFA executive Marios Lefkaritis is among a number of officials the Swiss attorney-general said he wanted to question as part of a criminal investigation into the awarding of the next two World Cups being hosted in Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.

The Swiss investigation is separate from the dramatic arrest and indictment  by US authorities of nine other officials of football’s governing body on corruption charges in Zurich earlier on Wednesday.

The executives the Swiss authorities want to question had taken part in the World Cup vote back in 2010.

They are Issa Hayatou (Cameroon), Angel Maria Villar Llona (Spain), Michael D’Hooghe (Belgium), Senes Erzik (Turkey), Worawi Makudi (Thailand), Rafael Salguero (Guatamala), Marios Lefkaritis, Jacques Anouma (Ivory Coast), Harry Abo Rida (Egypt) and Vitaly Mutko (Russia).

Earlier on Wednesday, Lefkaritis had expressed surprise at the US-led arrests of the nine FIFA officials.

Speaking on Greek radio station Spor FM 94.6, Lefkaritis said he was shocked.

“We knew there was some kind of investigation underway,” he said, but did not know what they targeted.

“As Europeans, we didn’t know the investigation was at such an advanced stage,” he said.

Limassol-born Lefkaritis has been a director of Petrolina the fuel company since 1971. He has been a member of the Executive Committee of FIFA since 2007.

Among those arrested in the American investigation is Costas Takkas, 58, the attaché to the CONCACAF president, and the former general secretary of the Cayman Islands Football Association.  It was not immediately clear if the man was of Greek or Cypriot descent.

The arrests of the senior FIFA officials in a morning raid at a five-star Zurich hotel mark an unprecedented blow against football’s  powerful governing body, which for years has been dogged by allegations of corruption but always escaped major criminal cases.

 

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Source: Cyprus News Agency

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