FOJ approves extradition of Eugenio Figueredo

Keywords: Corruption | Extradition

Press Release, FOJ, 17.09.2015

Bern. The Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) has approved the extradition of Eugenio Figueredo to the USA. The Uruguayan citizen has 30 days in which to appeal to the Swiss Federal Criminal Court against the FOJ's ruling.

The former vice-president of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) and former vice-president of FIFA was arrested in Zurich along with six other FIFA officials on 27 May 2015, on the basis of an arrest request from the US. He was then held in custody pending extradition. The formal US extradition request which was submitted to the FOJ on 1 July 2015 is based on an arrest warrant issued on 20 May 2015 by the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York. 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 América tournaments in 2015, 2016, 2019 and 2023. Figueredo is also alleged to have acquired US citizenship fraudulently by submitting forged medical reports in 2005 and 2006.

Market distortion

In its extradition ruling, the FOJ concluded that all of the conditions for extradition are fulfilled. Specifically, the facts laid down in the US extradition request are also punishable under Swiss law (the principle of dual criminality). According to the request, by accepting bribes for the award of sports marketing contracts, Figueredo massively influenced the competitive situation and distorted the market for media rights in connection with the Copa América. Other sports marketing companies were placed at a disadvantage, and the affected football federations were prevented from negotiating more favourable marketing agreements. In Switzerland, such conduct would be deemed unfair practices under the Federal Act on Unfair Competition. The allegation that Figueredo used forged medical reports as part of citizenship proceedings would also be punishable under the Swiss Criminal Code as document forgery.

The FOJ's extradition ruling is not yet legally enforceable. Figueredo has 30 days in which to lodge an appeal with the Federal Criminal Court, and five days in which to notify the FOJ of his intent to do so. The decision of the Federal Criminal Court may be taken before the Federal Supreme Court only under certain circumstances, specifically if there are indications of severe deficiencies in the foreign criminal proceedings

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