Switzerland OKs extradition of football's Figueredo to Uruguay

  • Football
  • Saturday, 19 Dec 2015

Acting President of the South American Soccer Federation (CONMEBOL) Eugenio Figueredo gives his first news conference since taking charge after the resignation of former President Nicolas Leoz, in Asuncion April 30, 2013. REUTERS/Jorge Adorno

MONTEVIDEO (Reuters) - Switzerland extradited a former Costa Rican football boss to the United States on Friday and approved the handover of a former South American federation chief to Uruguay in the latest judicial steps in the corruption scandal that has engulfed the sport.

Costa Rican Eduardo Li was sent to the United States, accompanied by two U.S. police officers, after withdrawing his appeal against extradition, the Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) said.

It said it would send Eugenio Figueredo, a former head of South America's CONMEBOL football body and former vice-president of world federation FIFA, to Uruguay, where he is accused of abusing his office for personal gain.

Both men were arrested on May 27 in Zurich as part of investigations led by the United States and Switzerland that span dozens of countries and centre on alleged corruption at the highest levels of the world's most popular sport.

Figueredo had appealed against the FOJ's Sept. 17 ruling to extradite him to the United States, but agreed on Nov. 9, to be sent to Uruguay, the justice office said.

It said it had decided to give priority to the Uruguayan extradition request because "Figueredo could be tried in Uruguay for all of the offences of which he is accused".

"In the USA, the prosecution would cover only some of the charges. For this reason, the FOJ yesterday decided to give priority to Figueredo's extradition to Uruguay."

The FOJ gave no details on the timing of the handover.

CONMEBOL, an influential grouping that includes traditional football powers such as Brazil and Argentina, is heavily embroiled in the corruption probe led by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Of 14 football officials and sports marketing executives indicted in the United States in May on bribery, money laundering and wire fraud charges involving more than $150 million (£100 million) in payments, eight were from South America.

Football bosses from across South and Central America were among 16 other people charged on Dec. 3 with multi-million-dollar bribery schemes for marketing and broadcast rights.

(Reporting by Malena Castaldi, additional reporting by Silke Koltrowitz in Zurich; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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