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FIFA Raids in Zurich Net Officials Suspected of Accepting Bribes

The early-morning raids in Zurich came after "arrest requests" submitted by the U.S. Department of Justice on November 29.

MAINZ, Germany — Swiss police on Thursday arrested two high-ranking FIFA officials suspected of accepting millions of dollars in bribes — some of which were allegedly processed by U.S. banks.

The early-morning raids in Zurich came after "arrest requests" submitted by the U.S. Department of Justice on November 29, according to the Swiss Justice Ministry.

Alfredo Hawit, president of North and Central America's soccer federation CONCACAF, and Juan Angel Napout, president of South America's federation CONMEBOL, were detained.

The pair are in custody but opposing extradition to the U.S., the justice ministry said in a statement.

Officials said Hawit and Napout allegedly received bribes in return for selling marketing rights in connection with football tournaments in Latin America, as well as World Cup qualifying matches.

"According to the arrest requests, some of the offences were agreed and prepared in the United States and payments were also processed via U.S. banks," the Swiss Justice Ministry stated.

"The two suspects are now under so-called extradition detention," Ingrid Ryser, spokeswoman for the Swiss Justice Ministry told NBC News. "If they appeal their extradition, the process could take a long time."

How FIFA Works

May 27, 201501:32

The arrests came amid a widening FIFA corruption scandal and ahead of the second day of a FIFA executive committee meeting.

Suspended FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who is also under investigation on corruption allegations, is not believed to be one of the two arrested suspects. The ministry said it would release the names of the two men later Thursday.

Swiss authorities arrested seven FIFA officials in May on suspected corruption. Two of the suspects — FIFA official and Cayman Islands banker, Jeffrey Webb, as well as José Maria Marin, former president of the Brazilian soccer federation — had agreed to an immediate extradition. Five other international football executives are still in Swiss custody after they appealed against the Justice Ministry's ruling.

Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini, a FIFA vice president, are currently suspended for 90 days after the Swiss attorney general opened criminal proceedings.