Detained FIFA official extradited to the U.S. to face corruption charges

Thursday July 16th, 2015

The Swiss Justice Ministry says that one of the seven FIFA officials arrested in May as part of a corruption investigation has been extradited back to the United States to face corruption charges.

The unidentified man was extradited on Wednesday after the United States government filed a formal request for extradition, with a 14-day period for those arrested to respond to that request.

The ministry said that extradited official was handed over in Zurich to a three-man police escort from the U.S. who then accompanied him on a flight to New York.

According to Reuters and Sky Sports, former FIFA vice president and CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb is the one individual who chose not to fight extradition. The other six remain in Switzerland, refusing to be extradited.

The FOJ said the unnamed person is accused of “accepting bribes totaling millions of dollars in connection with the sale of marketing rights to various sports marketing firms and keeping the money for himself,” pertaining to the World Cup qualifying television broadcasts and other soccer tournaments.

Webb, former CONMEBOL Vice President Eugenio Figueredo, Costa Rican soccer federation president Eduardo Li, former Brazilian federation chief Jose Maria Marin, Venezuela FA chief Rafael Esquivel, FIFA staffer Julio Rocha, and British businessman Costas Takkas were the seven individuals arrested at a luxury hotel in Zurich on May 27 just days before FIFA’s congress.

Fourteen people were indicted and charged on the same day with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies by the United States Justice Department, which accused FIFA of decades of "rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted" corruption by members of world soccer's governing body.

Authorities say the men were paid more than $150 million in bribes over a more than two decade period.

Four other men have already pleaded guilty to crimes, including former FIFA executive panel member Chuck Blazer, who admitted to being part of a $10 million bribe scheme with former FIFA vice president Jack Warner for supporting South Africa's successful bid to host the 2010 World Cup.

Blazer was subsequently banned for life by FIFA for his role in the corruption scheme.

- Scooby Axson

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