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US prosecutors target banks in next step of FIFA pursuit

Photo credit: AFP.

Photo credit: AFP.

US prosecutors are threatening to punish banks for failing to flag up suspicious activity on accounts linked to world soccer’s scandal-hit governing body FIFA, the Financial Times reported on Monday. US banks JPMorgan, Bank of America and Citigroup, Swiss lenders Credit Suisse and UBS and British HSBC and Standard Chartered are holding discussions on the issue with US authorities, the business daily said.

In the case of Swiss banks, investigators are trying to find ways around Switzerland’s strict banking laws, the paper reported, citing informed sources. Switzerland’s Office of the Attorney General told AFP it had received around 133 suspicious activity reports related to the ongoing criminal proceedings around the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

SEE MORE: Michel Platini may boycott FIFA hearing.

US authorities in May said they were looking into $150 million (137 million euros) in alleged bribes and backhanders in international soccer since the 1990s. US Justice Secretary Loretta Lynch recently referred to $200 million in suspicious payments since 1991.

The scandal over allegations of multi-million dollar bribes for the awarding of tournament hosting rights and broadcast contracts has upended FIFA, leading to the suspension of long-time president Sepp Blatter and several other top officials.

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