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FIFA scandal prompts house arrest of ex-South American soccer chief

02 June 2015, 11:06

Asuncion - A Paraguayan judge on Monday ordered house arrest for the former president of South America's soccer federation, who is accused by the United States of involvement in a corruption scandal that has rocked world soccer.

Nicolas Leoz is among nine soccer officials and five sports media and promotions executives hit with U.S. graft charges involving more than $150 million in bribes. Leoz headed the regional CONMEBOL federation for 27 years, stepping down in 2013. He was a member of governing body FIFA's executive committee for more than a decade.

U.S. officials are seeking to extradite defendants who remain outside the United States.

Judge Humberto Otazu ruled Leoz should not be held in prison while the extradition request is processed because he is 86 and Paraguayan law says defendants over the age of 70 should not be incarcerated pending trial.

"Considering the seriousness of the case ... this court decided it prudent and appropriate to order house arrest," Otazu told reporters in the capital Asuncion.

Swiss police last week arrested seven senior past and present soccer officials, including Leoz's successor at CONMEBOL, Eugenio Figueredo, who is an Uruguayan citizen.

Leoz has been receiving medical treatment in a private clinic he owns since the worst crisis to engulf the world's most popular sport erupted last week.

Before giving his ruling, a doctor from Paraguay's judiciary examined Leoz in the presence of the judge. Otazu said Leoz would be transferred to his residence under police custody once he is discharged from the clinic.

- Reuters


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