United States prosecutors in New York have requested government of Paraguay to extradite Nicolas Leoz, the former president of South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) and one of those charged in the ongoing FIFA corruption scandal being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department.
Nicolas Leoz, 86, is being held under house arrest in the Paraguayan capital, Asuncion. And according to his lawyer Ricardo Preda, Mr. Leoz was informed that Paraguay’s foreign ministry has received a request from the U.S. Embassy for his extradition and has sent it to the Supreme Court.
Preda said there is no deadline for authorities to decide on the extradition request, which ‘is not for immediate execution.’
Leoz was president of the South American confederation from 1986 to 2013 as well as a former member of the executive committee of FIFA, international football’s governing body. He is one of the 14 top football officials and businessmen indicted by the U.S. Justice Department on charges of bribery, racketeering, and money laundering.
Though, Leoz was not in Geneva in May when seven FIFA executives were arrested by Swiss police, he was later detained by authorities in Paraguay. Paraguay subsequently signed a law repealing the immunity that CONMEBOL’s headquarters enjoyed for nearly two decades.
Preda, the former CONMEBOL boss has maintained his innocence in the FIFA bribery and corruption scandal and has resolved to fight extradition to the U.S.
By Olisemeka Obeche