Argentine sought by U.S. in FIFA scandal surrenders in Italy

Tue Jun 9, 2015 3:34pm EDT
 
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ROME/BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Businessman Alejandro Burzaco, one of three Argentines wanted by U.S. prosecutors in the FIFA bribery investigation, surrendered voluntarily to police in northern Italy on Tuesday, police said.

U.S. prosecutors say Burzaco, 50, along with Hugo Jinkis, 70, and his son Mariano Jinkis, 40, conspired to win and keep lucrative media rights contracts from regional soccer federations by paying tens of millions of dollars in bribes.

Argentine media reported the father and son were in Argentina but their precise whereabouts were unknown.

Police in the city of Bolzano, Italy, said they arrested Burzaco after he turned himself in at the police station accompanied by his lawyers.

Burzaco was one of nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives indicted in the United States on May 27 on charges of racketeering and corruption, rocking the sport. Swiss police arrested seven past and current officials of world soccer's governing body FIFA at a luxury hotel in Zurich and they face extradition to the United States.

Of the remaining seven, Burzaco is in Italy while the rest, from various parts of the Americas and the Caribbean, either cannot be traced, are out on bail or under house arrest.

Burzaco is also being investigated by Argentina's tax authority, which suspects him of tax evasion. He would have to be extradited from Italy, which is often slow and complicated, by either the United States or Argentina.

Burzaco gave no explanation as to why he was in Bolzano. Local media said he had rented a house outside the city and planned to request that he be given house arrest.

Burzaco was president of Argentine sports marketing firm Torneos y Competencias (Torneos), when he was charged. Hugo and Mariano Jinkis are controlling principals of Full Play, another sports media and marketing business headquartered in Argentina.   Continued...