CONMEBOL disavows corruption, backs FBI’s investigation

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Buenos Aires, May 28 (IANS) Decrying “any acts of corruption” in world soccer, the South American apex football body has said it “unrestrictedly” supported the probe initiated by the United States Department of Justice involving itself, the North America and Caribbean Football Confederation (CONCACAF) and FIFA.

The US Justice Department on Wednesday charged 14 individuals — including two current FIFA vice presidents and seven other world football officials – with offences including racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies.

The announcement by Attorney General Loretta Lynch, accompanied at a press conference in New York by FBI director James Comey, came on the same day that Swiss authorities arrested seven of the 14 defendants charged in the indictment.

The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL), in a press release published on its website on Wednesday, called for respecting the process of law and declared its commitment to “openly and emphatically collaborate” with the ongoing investigations.

The defendants include FIFA vice presidents Uruguayan Eugenio Figueredo and Caymanian Jeffrey Webb, who is also CONCACAF president, and former CONMEBOL president Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay.

The US Department of Justice published a list of 14 defendants in the FIFA corruption scandal — nine of whom are FIFA executive committee members.

The South Americans named among the defendants are Figueredo, Leoz, former president of Brazil football association Jose Maria Marin and Venezuela football association president and CONMEBOL executive member Rafael Esquivel.

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