Argentines accused in FIFA corruption case contest extradition to US

Buenos Aires, Aug 6 (IANS) An Argentine father and son accused of bribing officials of world football’s governing body FIFA have declined to be extradited to the United States.

Hugo Jinkis and his son Mariano refused to be extradited at a hearing on Wednesday, where they were formally notified of the US legal measure, reports Xinhua.

The Jinkises are under house arrest here for allegedly paying as much as $150 million in bribes to top executives at the International Federation of Associated Football for the television broadcast rights to matches.

According to state news agency Telam, it is now up to the Argentinean judicial system to decide whether the two men, owners of the company Full Play Group, should be tried in a US court.

The businessmen had been in hiding until turning themselves in on June 18, following the launching of an international investigation into wrongdoing at FIFA, being led by the US Attorney General.

News of the extensive corruption scandal broke on May 27, after arrest warrants were issued for 14 people, including top FIFA executives, in Zurich, where the organisation is headquartered.

At a press conference at the time, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch reportedly said those indicted had “corrupted the business of worldwide soccer … to enrich themselves.”

Full Play has the TV rights to most of South America’s national football teams, some belonging to the Concacaf (North and Central America, and Caribbean region), and the Dutch national team.

A third Argentine businessman involved in the scandal, Alejandro Burzaco, was extradited last week from Italy to New York, where was charged with paying $110 million in bribes for the rights to the Copa America championship, according to Telam.

The former president of the firm Torneos posted $20 million in bail, but must wear a monitoring device and remain in the city awaiting trial.

 

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