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FIFA investigation Ex-Venezuelan football president extradited

Esquivel is the former president of the Venezuelan Football Federation and vice president of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL).

(Keystone)

Another FIFA executive arrested in Switzerland on corruption charges has been extradited to the United States. Rafael Esquivel, a former higher-up in both the Venezuelan and South American football organisations, left Switzerland on Monday for New York, where he is now imprisoned. 

On Tuesday evening, Esquivel pleaded not guilty to the charges before a judge in New York, according to news reports. 

Esquivel was one of seven FIFA officials arrested on May 27, 2015 following a US Justice Department investigation into corruption at the world football governing body. His extradition to the US was approved by Switzerland’s Federal Office of Justice on September 23 of last year.

Esquivel appealed the extradition twice, once to Switzerland’s Federal Criminal Court in early 2016 and again to the Federal Supreme Court when the first appeal was rejected.

In February, he notified authorities the he had withdrawn his second appeal and wished to be extradited to the US.

Esquivel faces a criminal investigation in the US related to money laundering and mismanagement. He could face up to 20 years in prison.

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

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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