Swiss Fifa inquiry receives more ‘suspicious activity’ reports

Swiss prosecutors have received another 28 suspicious activity reports since mid-June.

FILE: The Swiss criminal investigation focuses on the decisions on who would stage the World Cup. Picture: AFP.

ZURICH - Switzerland now has 81 reports of suspicious financial activity linked to Fifa's decisions to let Russia and Qatar run the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments, the Swiss attorney general's office said on Sunday.

Swiss prosecutors investigating corruption at the Zurich-based global soccer body have received another 28 suspicious activity reports since mid-June, a spokesman for the attorney general said.

The Swiss criminal investigation focuses on the decisions on who would stage the World Cup. Both Russia and Qatar deny wrongdoing and say they are preparing to hold the tournaments on schedule.

Attorney General Michael Lauber said last month that Switzerland's anti-money laundering agency had identified 53 suspicious transactions flagged up from information supplied by banks.

His office said that had now risen to 81 and it was "very pleased with analysis work done by the Money Laundering Reporting Office Switzerland as it is of great support to the [Swiss] criminal proceedings," the spokesman said by email.

As the Fifa scandal continues, the federation's president, Sepp Blatter last week made new claims saying French and German presidents applied political pressure before the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively.

Blatter was quoted in an international Sunday newspaper saying there were two political interventions from former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German counterpart Christian Wulff before the hosts were announced in December 2010.

He also said he was tired of taking the blame for something he had no control over.

Blatter suggested that the German football federation received a recommendation from Wulff "to vote for Qatar out of economic interests".

The Fifa president insisted he acted on the leadership principal saying he had no choice but to accept if a majority of the executive committee wanted a World Cup in Qatar or any other country.

Last month, he announced his intention to leave office just four days after he was re-elected for a fifth four term.

However, he remains defiant despite the scandal engulfing world soccer's governing body.