Bolivian soccer chief arrested on charges of corruption

Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:29pm EDT
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LA PAZ (Reuters) - The head of Bolivia's soccer federation, Carlos Chavez, was arrested on Friday on charges of corruption in the management of finances, the Bolivian public prosecutors office said.

Chavez is also the treasurer of the South American Football Confederation, CONMEBOL.

Chavez was arrested on suspicion of a scam in the case of a fund set up for the family of a fan who died at an international match in the central Bolivian city of Oruro in 2013, Bolivian state news agency ABI reported.

According to ABI, the fan's family never received any money from that fund.

The public prosecutors office said it also arrested the Secretary General of the Bolivian federation, Alberto Lozada.

"The charges being investigated are criminal organization, legitimatizing of illicit profit, the untoward use of influence ... and fraud," Bolivia's attorney general Ramiro Guerrero said in a statement.

Guerrero said more than 40 people had testified so far in the course of the investigation, which began on June 1.

Chavez's lawyer Jaime Tapia called his arrest "shameful", saying authorities should have listened to him before detaining him.

U.S. and Bolivian authorities were unavailable for immediate comment on whether the arrest had anything to do with the U.S. corruption investigation into world soccer's governing body FIFA and related organizations, such as CONMEBOL.

(Reporting by Daniel Ramos in La Paz, Eliana Raszewski and Sarah Marsh in Buenos Aires; Additional reporting by David Ingram in New York; Editing by Martin Howell and Ken Wills)