الأحد , يونيو 14 2020

US asks Paraguay for Fifa executive

FIFA President Sepp Blatter (R) poses with CONMEBOL President Nicolas Leoz after a news conference at the end of the extraordinary congress of the CONMEBOL in Luque near Asuncion, Paraguay in this file picture taken February 5, 2012.

Nicolas Leoz (L) was the former head of the South American football confederation and a close ally of Sepp Blatter (R)

The United States has asked Paraguay to extradite Nicolas Leoz, the former president of South America’s football confederation, Conmebol.

Mr Leoz is one of the main suspects in a huge bribery and money-laundering scandal being investigated by the US Justice Department.

The former member of Fifa’s executive committee is being held under house arrest in the Paraguayan capital, Asuncion.

He maintains his innocence.

A former president of Conmebol, Mr Leoz was not in Geneva in May when seven Fifa executives were arrested by Swiss police.

But he was subsequently detained by Paraguayan police and has been under house arrest in his home town of Asuncion – the seat of the Conmebol headquarters.

Paraguay like other countries in the region launched its own investigation after the US indictments.

In neighbouring Bolivia where a former Conmebol treasurer has been arrested for corruption, two more football officials have turned themselves in to the police.

At the heart of the US investigation is the sale of football marketing and TV rights and what was done with the revenues.

The scandal has mainly involved officials and businessmen representing the Americas region.

Meanwhile, credit card giant Visa – a major Fifa sponsor – has called for an “independent, third-party commission” to investigate the world football body.

“We believe no meaningful reform can be made under Fifa’s existing leadership,” said Visa chief executive Charlie Scharf.

“We view the stewardship of our company, our brand and our clients with the utmost importance and try to hold ourselves to the highest standards,” he said.

“We seek to partner with those who think and act like us. I don’t believe that Fifa is living up to these standards.”

Another Fifa sponsor, Coca-Cola, made a similar call for an independent investigation last week.

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