A New World Order: Fifa Fiscal Scandal Opens the Door for the United States Department of Justice to Prosecute Crimes Committed across the Globe through the Use of Extraterritorial Jurisdiction

By Slattery, Conor | Suffolk Transnational Law Review, Winter 2018 | Go to article overview

A New World Order: Fifa Fiscal Scandal Opens the Door for the United States Department of Justice to Prosecute Crimes Committed across the Globe through the Use of Extraterritorial Jurisdiction


Slattery, Conor, Suffolk Transnational Law Review


I. INTRODUCTION

The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is one of the most well-known and well-funded organizations in the world. (1) Recently, the United States uncovered a massive money laundering scandal inside FIFA after an extensive investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) of high-ranking FIFA officials. (2) The United States employed extraterritorial jurisdiction over the accused executives because the FIFA executives were not physically present in the United States of America when they committed the crimes they are charged with. (3) After the rumors of bribery and officials selling their votes during the bidding process, behind closed doors, for the rights to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, indictments returned in May of 2015 that rocked the footballing world. (4) As a result of the indictments served by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), extensive investigations have been conducted into many high-ranking FIFA executives, such as former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, Jack Warner, and many other FIFA executives since the first round of arrests of officials in Zurich, Switzerland. (5) All of the arrested FIFA executives were seized in Switzerland, which lead to the United States DOJ petitioning Switzerland, under extraterritorial jurisdiction, to extradite the officials to the United States for prosecution of the crimes regarding their roles. (6)

The United States had extraterritorial jurisdiction because the operation of both FIFA and the banking institutions inside the physical borders of the United States allowed the United States DOJ to exert extraterritorial jurisdiction over the indicted officials. (7) This Note will explore the present state of the United States extradition relationship with Switzerland, and why Switzerland's Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) should have unanimously granted all of the United States extradition requests in regard to the FIFA officials seized in the May 27, 2015 arrests. (8) Part II will discuss the history of extradition between of United States and Switzerland, the development of extraterritorial extradition in the United States, and the structure and development of FIFA. (9) Part III will recount the events of the FIFA raids conducted in Zurich, Switzerland and the extradition requests made by the United States for multiple FIFA officials based on the theory of extraterritorial jurisdiction. (10) Part IV will analyze the extradition requests made by the United States, and whether Switzerland should have granted them, as well as future steps that may be taken to ensure uniform extradition decisions. (11) Lastly, Part V will conclude the Note by highlighting the appropriate action Switzerland's FOJ should have taken based on precedent and the strength of extraterritorial jurisdiction. (12)

II. HISTORY

A. Extradition in the United States

Before the creation of extradition treaties, fugitives could seek asylum in other countries to avoid facing criminal prosecution. (13) In 1794, the United States of America entered into the Treaty of Amity, Commerce & Navigation between His Britannic Majesty and the United States (Jay Treaty) with the United Kingdom to ensure that individuals who fled to the United States from the United Kingdom, or vice versa, would face prosecution for his or her crimes. (14) Extradition agreements require the United States and the partner government to send promptly the requested individual back to the nation making the request to face the criminal charges, if the charged act is also a crime in the nation the individual is currently hiding in to avoid prosecution. (15) Any extradition agreement entered into force by the United States government becomes binding and mandatory on all courts of the United States. (16) Due to the growth of international crime and international travel, the United States continues to create extradition treaties and is currently a member of over one hundred extradition treaties with various nations around the world. …

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