Figueredo jailed pending trial in Uruguay

Montevideo, December 25

Fallen FIFA vice president Eugenio Figueredo was jailed pending trial in his native Uruguay on Thursday after being extradited from Switzerland to answer charges in the corruption scandal roiling international football.

Figueredo, the former president of South American confederation CONMEBOL, arrived on Thursday morning and was taken directly to an initial court appearance, where he was remanded in custody, court sources told AFP. But Judge Adriana de los Santos may still grant him house arrest, as his lawyer has requested, the sources said.

Figueredo faces two to 15 years in prison if convicted. The 83-year-old ex-football boss was one of seven top FIFA officials arrested at a Zurich luxury hotel in May, a raid that kicked off an unprecedented crisis at world football’s governing body.

The United States, which led the investigation, is also seeking to extradite Figueredo on charges of soliciting multi-million-dollar bribes from sports marketing firms. Figueredo had agreed to be sent to Uruguay but is fighting extradition to the United States.

The Swiss justice ministry (FOJ) had approved his extradition to both countries, and said in November it would be up to the United States to decide whether to let Uruguay have priority. “If the US authorities do not agree, the issue will be decided by the FOJ,” it said at the time.

Figueredo’s lawyer has said her client is in poor health and should be granted house arrest because of his age. Figueredo was head of the Uruguayan Football Association from 1997 to 2006 and became CONMEBOL president in 2013. CONMEBOL’s last three presidents have all been arrested in the scandal, plunging the South American confederation into crisis.