ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) — U.S. prosecutors in New York have asked Paraguay to extradite Nicolas Leoz, the former president of South America’s soccer confederation and one of those charged in a corruption scandal being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department.
Leoz, 86, is being held under house arrest in the Paraguayan capital, Asuncion.
His lawyer, Ricardo Preda, told The Associated Press on Thursday that Leoz was informed that Paraguay’s “foreign ministry has received the request from the U.S. Embassy 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, known as CONMEBOL, from 1986 to 2013. He was also a former member of the executive committee of FIFA, international soccer’s governing body.
The U.S. Justice Department has indicted 14 soccer officials and businessmen on charges of bribery, racketeering, and money laundering, among them Leoz. He was not in Geneva in May when seven FIFA executives were arrested by Swiss police, but 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.
Leoz has said he is innocent and plans to fight extradition to the U.S.
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