CONMEBOL accuses ex-presidents of money laundering

Fifa.(Getty Images)
Fifa.(Getty Images)

Asuncion - The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) on Tuesday formally accused two of its ex-presidents of embezzlement, money laundering, forgery and other criminal charges lodged with Paraguayan prosecutors.

It said in a statement that it was pressing the charges against Nicolas Leoz and Eugenio Figueredo.

Both have already been indicted in the United States as part of a far-reaching corruption investigation into world football.

CONMEBOL said its legal unit had informed the heads of its 10 football associations of the legal action in Paraguay, where its headquarters are based.

It accused Leoz and Figueredo of damaging its finances through "abuse of trust, appropriation, money laundering, production of unauthentic documents and criminal association."

CONMEBOL's lawyer, Osvaldo Granada, told AFP that auditors had discovered "an operational mechanism maintained over time that strongly incriminates Nicolas Leoz and Eugenio Figueredo."

The forensic accounting uncovered $28 million in bank transfers from CONMENBOL to personal accounts controlled by Leoz.

"Afterwards there were direct bank transfers to unidentified accounts for $33.3 million," and other international transfers made with inadequate documentation to the tune of $58 million, supposedly for services, the lawyer said.

Another $10 million was paid to companies caught up in the United States' so-called "FIFA-gate" investigation.

The appropriation of funds allegedly occurred between 2000 and 2015, he said, adding that the decision to go with charges was decided in a CONMEBOL congress in April.

Figueredo and Leoz have been kept under house arrest in their respective countries - Uruguay and Paraguay - pending investigations.

They are among nearly 40 international officials detained in the "FIFA-gate" scandal.

South American football officials have been heavily implicated in the US-led investigation into corruption in world football that led to the downfall of FIFA president Sepp Blatter in 2015.

Investigations indicated that officials had pocketed millions of dollars in bribes for awarding sponsorship and marketing contracts.

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