Bellefontaine Examiner

Switch to desktop

Better than ever, LeBron leads Cavaliers into NBA Finals

CLEVELAND (AP) — Escorted by family members and friends, LeBron James walked out of Quicken Loans Arena cradling his sleepy youngest son with his left arm while clutching an expensive bottle of champagne in his right hand.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Hits: 303


Swiss open criminal proceedings in 2018, '22 World Cup votes

ZURICH (AP) — Swiss federal prosecutors opened criminal proceedings related to the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, throwing FIFA deeper into crisis only hours after seven soccer officials were arrested and 14 indicted Wednesday in a separate U.S. corruption probe.

FIFA, meanwhile, said Friday's presidential election would go ahead as planned with Sepp Blatter going for a fifth term. Blatter was not named in either investigation.

FIFA also ruled out a revote of the World Cups won by Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.

The Swiss prosecutors' office said in a statement they seized "electronic data and documents" at FIFA's headquarters on Wednesday as part of their probe. And Swiss police said they will question 10 FIFA executive committee members who took part in the World Cup votes in December 2010.

The Swiss investigation against "persons unknown on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and of money laundering" again throws into the doubt the integrity of the voting.

The announcement came only hours after seven soccer officials were arrested and detained by Swiss police pending extradition at the request of U.S. authorities after a raid at a luxury hotel in Zurich.

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement that two current FIFA vice presidents were among those arrested, Jeffrey Webb and Eugenio Figueredo. The others are Eduardo Li, Julio Rocha, Costas Takkas, Rafael Esquivel and Jose Maria Marin.

"The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States," Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said in the statement. "It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks."

The Swiss prosecutors' office said the U.S. probe was separate from its investigation but that authorities were working together.

The U.S. case involves bribes "totaling more than $100 million" linked to commercial deals dating back to the 1990s for soccer tournaments in the United States and Latin America, the Swiss Federal Office of Justice said. The Justice Department said the corruption is linked to World Cup qualifying matches and the Copa America — South America's continental championship.

Dozens of soccer officials are in Switzerland for the FIFA congress and presidential election, where Blatter is widely expected to win re-election at the helm of the governing body of world soccer.

"He is not one of the ones arrested. He is not involved at all," FIFA spokesman Walter de Gregorio told The Associated Press. "We are trying to find out more from the police."

Blatter had been scheduled to attend a meeting of the Confederation of African Football in a different downtown Zurich hotel, but he canceled his appearance.

Blatter's only opponent in Friday's presidential election, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, said it was "a sad day for football," but declined to comment further.

The arrests were made at the lakeside Baur au Lac Hotel in downtown Zurich, long favored as a place for senior FIFA officials to stay. It was the stage for intense lobbying for votes ahead of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting decisions in December 2010.

The North American regional body, known as CONCACAF, reported itself to U.S. tax authorities in 2012. Then based in New York, the organization had not paid taxes over several years when its president was Warner and secretary general was Chuck Blazer of the United States.

Warner, who is from Trinidad and Tobago, left soccer in 2011 to avoid FIFA sanctions in a bribery scandal during that year's presidential election. Blazer left in 2013 and has pleaded guilty to charges, the Justice Department said in Wednesday's statement.

Warner's successor as CONCACAF leader and FIFA vice president is Webb, who is from the Cayman Islands and was staying at the Baur au Lac this week.

The Swiss Federal Office of Justice said in its statement that U.S. authorities suspect the six arrested officials of having received or paid bribes totaling millions of dollars and that the crimes were agreed to and prepared in the U.S., and payments carried out via U.S. banks.

"The bribery suspects — representatives of sports media and sports promotion firms — are alleged to have been involved in schemes to make payments to the soccer functionaries (FIFA delegates) and other functionaries of FIFA sub-organizations - totaling more than USD 100 million," the FOJ statement said.

A statement in German added that the probe involved tournaments in the United States.

International media gathered at the street entrance of the Baur au Lac in scenes reminiscent of the World Cup votes won by Russia and Qatar more than four years ago.

Then, former President Bill Clinton was inside meeting FIFA voters who later rejected the American bid in favor of Qatar, and Britain's Prince William was part of the losing English bid team.

Suspicions of vote-buying and wrongdoing in those bidding contests have dogged FIFA ever since.


AP Sports Writer Rob Harris contributed to this report.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Hits: 201

Bears release Ray McDonald after arrest in California

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Chicago Bears released defensive end Ray McDonald following a domestic violence arrest in Northern California that police say stemmed from an assault on a woman who was holding a baby.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Hits: 178


Beleskey scores in OT, Ducks beat Chicago 5-4 in wild Game 5

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Anaheim Ducks stumbled back to their dressing room after regulation in disbelief. Jonathan Toews had just scored two improbable goals in 72 seconds, and Game 5 of the Western Conference finals was headed into an overtime where everything seemed tilted toward Chicago.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Hits: 184


Ohio legislative proposal would back Pete Rose reinstatement

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A resolution urging baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred to reinstate former Cincinnati Reds star Pete Rose and make him eligible for the Hall of Fame has had its first hearing in the Ohio Legislature.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Hits: 198


James leads Cavs to 94-82 win over Hawks, 2-0 series lead

ATLANTA (AP) — Forget the Big Three.

Last Updated on Saturday, 23 May 2015

Hits: 257


Questions about safety hover over 99th Indianapolis 500

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — They call the Indianapolis 500 "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" for its high speeds, rich history, enormous crowd and the take-your-breath-away competition.

Last Updated on Saturday, 23 May 2015

Hits: 278


Indianapolis 500 finds women drivers in short supply

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Pippa Mann rattled off the list of body parts still aching after a brutal crash at Indianapolis 500 practice.

Last Updated on Saturday, 23 May 2015

Hits: 240