FIFA's huge corruption and bribery scandal, explained
The biggest surprise here isn't that FIFA officials allegedly engaged in this sort of corruption — it's that after years of widespread accusations, the US and Swiss governments are finally cracking down.
The allegations largely began during the tenure of previous FIFA president João Havelange, who enlisted the World Cup's first corporate sponsors, expanded the number of teams, and dramatically increased FIFA revenues from it after taking over in 1974. During the same period, Havelange took millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for World Cup marketing and broadcast rights. Current FIFA president Sepp Blatter allegedly knew about these bribes and attempted to cover them up upon taking office.
More recently, the decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar led to widespread accusations of vote buying. Two members of the executive committee were actually suspended before the vote due to the allegations, and afterward, the leader of England's bid reported that he'd been asked for millions of dollars and other bribes in exchange for votes.
Ex-Speaker Hastert's Payments Linked To Sexual Misconduct
Hastert was indicted Thursday in connection with charges that he tried to hide cash withdrawal requirements and lied to the FBI about it. As NPR's Brian Naylor reported:
"According to the U.S. attorney's office, Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million to a person identified only as Individual A 'in order to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct against Individual A.' The indictment charges that Hastert began withdrawing money from various bank accounts, and that beginning in approximately July 2012 he started structuring those withdrawals in increments of less than $10,000 to evade currency transaction requirements that withdrawals of $10,000 or more be reported."