As the U.S. Department of Justice, in concert with European officials, launches a much-publicized crackdown on FIFA corruption, bribery, and racketeering, the powerful multinational corporation Nike—widely believed to be implicated in the scandal—has been largely shielded from the same public outing.
The discrepancy adds to suspicions that, despite the “tough-on-white-collar-crime” rhetoric of the DOJ, the agency is in fact far more willing to aggressively go after the Zurich-headquartered soccer enterprise and smaller companies than powerful multinationals and financial institutions.
The DOJ announced on Wednesday that it is levying charges against 9 FIFA officials and 5 corporate executives, and Swiss authorities raided FIFA’s headquarters and arrested officials pending their extradition to the United States.
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch emphasized the DOJ’s “get tough” attitude in statements Wednesday: “Today’s action makes clear that this Department of Justice intends to end any such corrupt practices, to root out misconduct, and to bring wrongdoers to justice – and we look forward to continuing to work with other countries in this effort.”
Although it is not clear why, the DOJ appears not to be subjecting some of the corporations involved in the scandal to the same level of public exposure as the FIFA officials.
The indictment directly references a “a major U.S. sportswear company” allegedly involved in bribery related to the Brazilian national soccer team. However, this “major U.S. sportswear company” was left unnamed.
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