Swiss crack down on bribery as 'Lex FIFA' set to take force

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 20, 2016 8:53 AM

ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland enacted new rules, dubbed by Swiss media "Lex FIFA", on Wednesday cracking down on bribes paid to private individuals as part of a fight against corruption in sport.

The government put into force from July revised legislation that allows prosecutors to investigate suspected bribes without having to await a criminal complaint, and even if payoffs do not skew competition, as the current law now holds.

"In future, bribes paid outside classic competition situations -- for instance in awarding sporting events -- will thus be punishable by law," the justice ministry said in a statement after a cabinet meeting.

The moves hands more power to crimefighters looking into the role suspected bribes pay in sports.

Swiss prosecutors are investigating whether bribes helped secure World Cup hosting rights granted by world soccer's governing body FIFA to Russia and Qatar. The authorities have been supporting U.S. investigations into whether soccer functionaries took or paid bribes to award media, marketing and sponsoring rights connected with tournaments in Latin America.

(Reporting by Michael Shields)