Two Bolivian Football Federation officials detained

Sucre (Bolivia), July 24 (IANS) Two Bolivian Football Federation (FBF) officials have been detained for suspected corruption and fraud.

Jorge Justiniano and Pedro Zambrano, members of FBF’s executive committee, were arrested after arriving at the office of the attorney general here on Thursday.

The case of the two executives will be heard by Roberto Valdivieso, the judge who sent the president of the FBF to prison on Tuesday.

FBF president Carlos Chavez, and its executive secretary Alberto Lozado, were the first two to be arrested on Saturday pending a preliminary hearing.

Chavez was sent to the Palmasola prison in Santa Cruz while Lozado was remanded under house arrest.

Chavez was first elected president of the FBF in 2006 before being re-elected in 2010 and 2014. He is facing charges of organised crime activities, money laundering, use of undue influence, abuse of power, tax evasion and fraud.

Specifically, Chavez and Lozado are accused of embezzling a portion of the 400,000 U.S. dollars in receipts made during a 2013 friendly between Brazil and Bolivia.

The funds were meant to go to the family of a fan, Kevin Beltran, who died after being struck by fireworks at a previous game against Brazil.

Justiniano and Zambrano resurfaced several days after media reports stated they were on the run.

This had led Bolivia’s attorney general, Ramiro Guerrero, to order the police this week to deploy resources to locate their whereabouts.

In response, Zambrano briefly contacted the press to express his surprise at Guerrero’s remarks and to state that he was afraid at the events unfolding before him.

While no links have officially been made to the ongoing FIFA corruption investigation, over 20 Bolivian football officials have been interrogated since June 1.

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