FIFA’s Esquivel Loses Appeal of Extradition, Swiss Court Says

  • Ruling means Esquivel one-step closer to facing U.S. charges
  • Esquivel was the head of the Venezuelan soccer association

Rafael Esquivel, the Venezuelan soccer official arrested in Zurich as part of an international crackdown on corruption in the sport, lost a Swiss extradition ruling, moving him one step closer to being sent to face charges in the U.S.

Switzerland’s Federal Criminal Court rejected Esquivel’s claims that he would face excessive punishment in the U.S. The fact he faces charges of soliciting and receiving bribes would also be crimes that could be prosecuted in Switzerland was grounds for dismissal, the court said in a statement Friday.

Esquivel was the head of the Venezuelan soccer association and vice-president of Conmebol, the South American soccer federation. The region’s soccer administrators are at the heart of a probe by U.S. and Swiss investigators into corruption that has triggered the resignation of FIFA President Sepp Blatter and arrests of at least 16 men that ran international soccer and bought and sold television rights to the game.

Esquivel can appeal the decision to the Swiss Supreme Court in Lausanne.

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