Former Peru soccer chief arrested in FIFA graft probe

Sat Dec 5, 2015 9:42am EST
 
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LIMA (Reuters) - The former longtime president of Peru's soccer federation, Manuel Burga, has been arrested as part of an ongoing U.S.-led investigation into corruption at the sport's world governing body, FIFA.

Burga is among 16 people, including current and former Latin American soccer chiefs, who were charged on Thursday with multimillion-dollar bribery schemes for marketing and broadcast rights.

Burga, 58, who was head of the Peruvian Football Federation (FPF) for 12 years until 2014, denied wrongdoing as police arrested him late on Friday outside his home in the Peruvian capital, Lima.

"I'm helping police with their enquiries, I'd been waiting for them... They'd already informed me that I would see an arrest warrant," Burga told local television reporters who had gathered outside his house.

"I reiterate that I'm innocent. I haven't received any bungs or bribes," he said, before being driven away in a police car.

Police chief Vicente Romero said officers were acting on an international warrant for Burga's arrest.

It was not immediately clear if Burga remained in police custody on Saturday and a U.S. Embassy spokesman declined to comment on whether he would be extradited to the United States.

Burga won reelection as FPF president twice but was barred last year by the organization from running for a fourth term as criticism grew over his management of the federation.

(Reporting by Teresa Cespedes and Mitra Taj; Writing by Rex Gowar; Editing by Helen Popper)

 
Manuel Burga, President of the Peruvian Football Federation (FPF) gestures during the draw for the CONMEBOL 2011 U-20 South American Youth Championship in Luque, on the outskirts of Asuncion, October 18, 2010.  REUTERS/Jorge Adorno