Switzerland grants US request to extradite former FIFA VP

BERN, Switzerland (AP) Swiss authorities on Thursday approved a U.S. request to extradite former FIFA vice president Eugenio Figueredo, who is accused of bribery and fraudulently obtaining American citizenship.

Figueredo, an 83-year-old Uruguay native, has 30 days to appeal the decision, Switzerland’s justice ministry said.

He was among seven football officials arrested May 27 in early-morning hotel raids in Zurich, two days before the FIFA presidential election.

Figueredo, who has been detained in a Zurich-area prison, faces a 20-year sentence on racketeering charges.

”Figueredo is accused of receiving bribes worth millions of dollars from a Uruguayan sports marketing company in connection with the sale of marketing rights to the Copa America tournaments in 2015, 2016, 2019 and 2023,” the Swiss ministry said.

”Figueredo is also alleged to have acquired U.S. citizenship fraudulently by submitting forged medical reports in 2005 and 2006,” the statement said.

Citing a mental disability, he was exempted from English language and civics tests to get citizenship.

”Figueredo submitted documentation explaining his mental disability that falsely stated that he had severe dementia,” the Swiss ministry said.

His term on the FIFA executive committee was due to expire on May 29. FIFA has since suspended him from all football duty.

Figueredo became president of the South American football body CONMEBOL in 2013 after his predecessor, Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay, resigned to avoid FIFA sanctions for taking kickbacks from a marketing agency which sold World Cup broadcasting rights.

Leoz is also among 14 football and marketing officials indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice in May for allegedly being involved in bribery worth ”well over $150 million” linked to hosting and broadcasting rights for the World Cup and continental tournaments in North and South America. Four more men had guilty pleas unsealed.

American authorities filed for Figueredo’s extradition in July.

Five more men detained in Switzerland are awaiting decisions by the Swiss justice ministry after Zurich police held extradition hearings in recent weeks.