The Swiss authorities said on Wednesday that they will allow a former FIFA vice-president accused of taking bribes to be extradited to Uruguay, if the United States agrees.
The Swiss Federal Office of Justiceexternal link said that Eugenio Figueredo, a former vice-president of the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol), agreed at a court hearing to be extradited to Uruguay.
The Uruguayan embassy in Bern submitted the request for his extradition last month. Figueredo was one of seven FIFA officials arrested on May 27, two days before the FIFA presidential electionexternal link, in a dawn raid at a luxury hotel in Zurich. US federal agents simultaneously raided the headquarters of CONCACAF (Confederation of North and Central American and Caribbean Association Football) in Miami Beach, Florida.
Uruguayan and US prosecutors suspect Figueredo of having abused his office for personal gain by taking bribes worth millions of dollars to award broadcasting rights to a US sports marketing company, the Swiss justice office said in a statementexternal link.
Since the Swiss justice office (FOJ) had already approved Figueredo’s extradition to the United States, the Swiss said they will wait to hear back from US authorities on whether they will agree to let him be extradited first to Uruguay to stand charges there. Figueredo had filed an appeal in Swiss court against US extradition.
“The FOJ approved Figueredo's simplified extradition to Uruguay, albeit subject to the resolution of priority between the Uruguayan and the equally valid US request,” the office said. “If the US authorities do not agree, the issue will be decided by the FOJ.”
Swiss authorities have been steadily approving extradition requests pertaining to the seven FIFA officials that were arrested in Zurich. They represent half of the 14 football officials and sports marketing executives that have been indicted in the United States on charges of money laundering, bribery and wire fraud involving more than $150 million (CHF144 million).
Suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter, meanwhile, has been spending a few days in a hospital due to “a minor health incident”, his spokesman Klaus J. Stöhlker said. Doctors ordered the 79-year-old Blatter, who is under suspension while the world football body's ethics committee investigates financial wrongdoing, to rest for ten days starting on November 6.
Acting FIFA President Issa Hayatou took the helm of the football body on October 8, following the decision by ethics committee.
swissinfo.ch and agencies