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FIFA corruption Former Venezuelan football boss accepts US extradition

Esquivel, right, will be the sixth former FIFA official to be extradited to the US following a corruption probe that has rocked the football world.

(Keystone)

Rafael Esquivel has officially withdrawn his appeal to Switzerland’s highest court against his extradition to the United States, where he will now face corruption charges.

“Esquivel must be placed in the custody of a US police escort and taken to the United States within ten days,” said a Swiss justice ministry spokesman on Friday. The exact date and time will not be announced.

News of Esquivel’s decision to drop the appeal came as delegates from FIFA’s 209 members met in Zurich to elect a successor of Switzerland’s Sepp Blatter as president of world football’s governing body, as well as to adopt reforms to address corruption in the organisation.

Esquivel has been in custody since last May, when he was arrested in Zurich along with nine other FIFA officials. They were picked up in two separate raids as part of a corruption probe into FIFA.

Esquivel faces a criminal investigation in the US related to money laundering and mismanagement.

He has been accused of accepting bribes to give sports marketing contracts to the Copa America tournaments in 2007, 2015, 2019 and 2023.

Esquivel will be the sixth former FIFA official to be extradited to the US. One has been sent to his native country of Uruguay, and two others – ex-FIFA staffer Julio Rocha of Nicaragua and Briton Costas Takkas, a former aide to the president of the CONCACAF federation – are still appealing extradition in Swiss courts.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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