FIFA official to fight US extradition

FIFA (AFP)
FIFA (AFP)

Caracas - Ex-Venezuelan football federation president Rafael Esquivel says he wants to be tried in his country to avoid extradition to the United States from Switzerland, where he was arrested in connection with the FIFA corruption scandal.

"The public prosecutor can request that Esquivel be tried in Venezuela," his lawyer Luis Garcia San Juan the newspaper El Universal.

Garcia said he asked the prosecutor to make the move because Esquivel "has always refused to be extradited" to the United States, where he is accused of taking bribes worth several million dollars for the awarding of sports marketing contracts in connection with the Copa America.

Esquivel, 69, was arrested in Zurich on May 27 as part of a US-led investigation into corruption at world football's now-tainted governing body FIFA.

The former Venezuelan Football Federation president and South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) official has appealed the extradition order.

The prosecution, however, "has said there is no evidence on which to try Esquivel in Venezuela. So why have his assets been seized?" asked Garcia.

The lawyer said representatives of Esquivel were requesting his release from custody in Switzerland for health reasons.

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