Miami-Based Soccer Federation Chief Alfredo Hawit Arrested in FIFA Corruption Sting

Update 11:30 am: FBI agents are raiding the Miami offices of Imagina, a Spanish-based media company that has been tied into the corruption scandal.  

Update 2:30: A total of 16 new defendants have been charged in the FIFA corruption probe, including a former president of Honduras — the country, not the soccer federation — and the current and former presidents of Brazil's soccer organization.

There's not a more legally hazardous job in Miami than taking the reigns of CONCACAF, the soccer federation in charge of North America, the Caribbean, and Central America. The past past three jefes of the Miami Beach-based organization are already at the center of the biggest corruption scandal ever to envelope world football.

And now the interim chief chosen to replace them in South Beach has also been arrested. Alfredo Hawit, a Honduran soccer official, was arrested in a predawn raid this morning at the same luxury Swiss hotel where the scandal began with mass arrests earlier this year.

Swiss police led Hawit out of the ritzy Baur au Lac hotel in the morning darkness alongside Juan Ángel Napout, a Paraguayan who runs the South American soccer federation. More than a dozen other suspects are expected to be charged later today in the U.S.-led corruption sting

Hawit took the reigns at CONCACAF — which is based in a four-story building at Fifth Street and Michigan Avenue in South Beach — only in June. He's an attorney by trade who played professional soccer for a decade in his native Honduras, scoring 11 goals for three clubs. 

Hawit snagged the CONCACAF job only because the federation's then-chief, the Cayman Islands' Jeffrey Webb, had just been arrested as part of U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch's massive sting operation into world football.

Webb, in turn, had taken power after Trinidadian official Jack Warner resigned in 2011 amid charges he'd taken cash payments in exchange for votes on important soccer tournaments. 

Both Webb and Warner found themselves at the center of Lynch's case when Swiss police first raided the Baur au Lac in May, eventually charging 14 top world soccer officials with orchestrating massive bribes. The key undercover source in that case? Another former CONCACAF chief, of course: American Chuck Blazer, who ran the group from 1990 to 2001 and who flipped to help the feds.

Another Miamian — Aaron Davidson, a marketing executive who once ran the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and the Miami FC — was also charged in May.

Davidson has been under house arrest on $5 million bond at his luxury condo in Brickell Key as his attorneys work with prosecutors. Davidson allegedly paid out bribes to CONCACAF officials to land lucrative TV contracts.

It's not clear exactly what charges U.S. prosecutors will throw at Hawit and the other defendants arrested today in Switzerland. Lynch has scheduled a news conference later today to announce the charges. Swiss police say Hawit and Napout both told them they plan to fight extradition to America. 

Officials at the battered FIFA headquarters — where embattled President Sepp Blatter is about the only top official to escape charges so far — are taking questions from reporters this morning but saying little of substance beyond promising more reforms

In South Beach, meanwhile, CONCACAF will have to scramble again for new leadership. Whoever takes the job should probably insist on a good lawyer as part of the hiring package. 

Update: FBI agents have swooped into the Medley office building housing Imagina, a Spanish media firm, where they are reportedly searching computers and removing files: 

Update 2: U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch unsealed a new indictment this afternoon naming 16 additional defendants, including Hawit and Hapout. The list includes Rafael Callejas, who served as Honduras' president from 1990 to 1994. Here's the full list of names via federal prosecutors: 

CONCACAF Region Officials

Alfredo Hawit: Current FIFA vice president and Executive Committee member and CONCACAF president. Former CONCACAF vice president and Honduran soccer federation president.
Ariel Alvarado: Current member of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee. Former CONCACAF Executive Committee member and Panamanian soccer federation president.
Rafael Callejas: Current member of the FIFA Television and Marketing Committee. Former Honduran soccer federation president and President of the Republic of Honduras.
Brayan Jiménez: Current Guatemalan soccer federation president and member of the FIFA Committee for Fair Play and Social Responsibility.
Rafael Salguero: Former FIFA Executive Committee member and Guatemalan soccer federation president.
Héctor Trujillo: Current Guatemalan soccer federation general secretary and judge on the Constitutional Court of Guatemala.
Reynaldo Vasquez: Former Salvadoran soccer federation president.
CONMEBOL Region Officials

Juan Ángel Napout: Current FIFA vice president and Executive Committee member and CONCACAF president. Former Paraguayan soccer federation president.
Manuel Burga: Current member of the FIFA Development Committee. Former Peruvian soccer federation president.
Carlos Chávez: Current CONMEBOL treasurer. Former Bolivian soccer federation president.
Luís Chiriboga: Current Ecuadorian soccer federation president and member of the CONMEBOL executive committee.
Marco Polo del Nero: Current president of the Brazilian soccer federation. Announced resignation from FIFA Executive Committee on Nov. 26, 2015.
Eduardo Deluca: Former CONMEBOL general secretary.
José Luis Meiszner: Current CONMEBOL general secretary.
Romer Osuna: Current member of the FIFA Audit and Compliance Committee. Former CONMEBOL treasurer.
Ricardo Teixeira: Former Brazilian soccer federation president and FIFA Executive Committee member.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink