Vladimir Putin says US investigation into Fifa is a 'clear attempt' to prevent Sepp Blatter from being re-elected

The Russian president likened the investigation into Sepp Blatter to 'persecution'

Louis Dore
Thursday 28 May 2015 12:26

Vladimir Putin has accused the US of meddling into allegations of corruption at Fifa and branded the FBI inquiry a "clear attempt" to prevent Sepp Blatter from being re-elected.

"This is yet another blatant attempt to extend its jurisdiction to other states," he said.

"Unfortunately our American partners are using these methods in order to achieve their own selfish gains and it is illegal to persecute people. I would not rule out that in regards to FIFA, the same thing could be happening, though I do not know how it will end," he said.

"However, the fact that this is happening right on the eve of the FIFA presidential elections, gives one this exact impression."

The Russian president made the comments following accusations from the Russian foreign ministry that the United States has applied legal force "far beyond its borders."

A statement on the website of the Russian foreign ministry said: "Without going into the details of the accusations ... this is clearly another case of illegal exterritorial use of US law."

"We hope that this will not in any way be used to cast a shadow on the international football organisation as a whole and its decisions.

The Swiss Attorney General has said Sepp Blatter may be questioned

"Once again we are calling on Washington to stop attempts to make justice far beyond its borders using its legal norms and to follow the generally accepted international legal procedures," it said.

The allocation of Russia as the home nation in the forthcoming 2018 World Cup is part of one of two corruption investigations which were launched yesterday.

One of the investigations plans to question 10 members of the executive committee who took part in the 2010 vote awarding the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.

No Russian officials have been questioned.

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko sat on FIFA's executive committee since 2009, however it is not clear whether he is to be questioned.

Mutko told Tass news agency that he has "nothing to hide" and that he will cooperate.

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