Blatter retained Richard Cullen, the chairman of the law firm McGuireWoods and a former U.S. federal prosecutor, said the person familiar with the matter who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity.

Swiss prosecutors looking into the international soccer scandal identified 53 suspicious bank transactions, the attorney general said on Wednesday, stressing that the investigation may take time.

Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber told journalists he would not rule out interviewing Blatter and General Secretary Jerome Valcke, although Switzerland had so far targeted no individuals.

Switzerland, where FIFA is based, announced its criminal investigation and seized computers at FIFA headquarters last month on the same day that the United States revealed indictments of nine soccer officials and five businessmen as part of a separate probe into corruption.

"We are faced with a complex investigation with many international implications," Lauber said in his first public comments since his office obtained the computer data last month.

"The world of football needs to be patient. By its nature, this investigation will take more than the legendary 90 minutes," he said, referring to the length of a soccer match.


FIFA's ethics committee confirmed it was conducting its own investigation into individuals suspected of breaking the rules in relation to bidding for the right to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which were granted to Russia and Qatar respectively.

It said it was prepared to investigate more suspects and take on extra staff if needed.

On Wednesday, Ricardo Teixeira, the former head of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), said he got "absolutely nothing" in return for his vote to award Qatar the rights to host the 2022 World Cup and described suggestions he was involved in impropriety as "preposterous."

Switzerland's third-largest listed bank, Julius Baer , said on Wednesday it had launched an internal investigation in connection with FIFA. It said it was cooperating with the authorities and did not say when its own probe had begun.

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