FIFA bans former vice-president for life for taking bribes

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FIFA bans former vice-president for life for taking bribes

Zurich: Former FIFA vice president Eugenio Figueredo has been banned for life for bribery worth millions of dollars that was exposed by a sprawling American federal investigation of corruption in international football.

FIFA’s ethics committee found the Uruguayan official guilty of taking bribes from 2004 to 2015 linked to commercial deals for South American competitions, football’s world body said on Wednesday.

Figueredo was also fined 1 million Swiss francs ($1 million) but it is unclear how FIFA can enforce payment. Now 87, Figueredo was a FIFA executive committee member when he was arrested in Zurich at a five-star hotel in May 2015. He was detained for seven months before Swiss authorities extradited him to face criminal charges in Uruguay rather than the United States. He was kept under house arrest in his home country.

A US Department of Justice indictment published in 2015 said Figueredo took and agreed to receive millions of dollars in bribes. He also obtained American citizenship nine years earlier after having falsely stated that he had severe dementia to avoid an English language test. The indictment said he kept a home in Arcadia, California.

Figueredo was joined by Nicolas Leoz and Juan Angel Napout as three consecutive presidents of South American soccer body CONMEBOL who were indicted by American authorities in 2015.

Napout was also arrested at the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich, more than six months after Figueredo, and went on trial in Brooklyn federal court. He was convicted in December 2017 of racketeering conspiracy and other charges and sentenced to nine years in prison.

Leoz died in August at the age of 90 while under house arrest fighting extradition to the US from Paraguay.

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