Venezuela will not seek extradition of FIFA exec Esquivel

Tue Feb 2, 2016 6:59pm EST
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CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela said on Tuesday it will not seek the extradition of former national soccer federation boss Rafael Esquivel, who is detained in Switzerland as part of a probe into corruption in world governing body FIFA.

Esquivel, 69, who was also a member of the executive committee of the South American Football Confederation, was arrested in May last year in Zurich with six other soccer executives on U.S. arrest warrants.

The comments about a possible Venezuelan extradition request followed press reports that Esquivel's lawyers wanted him to be tried in his own country rather than in the United States.

"It's not true that Venezuela has requested his extradition," chief state prosecutor Luisa Ortega told parliament. "Furthermore, we're not going to request it."

Swiss authorities have approved the extradition of Esquivel, who was born in Tenerife and has Spanish-Venezuelan dual citizenship, to the United States. His lawyers are appealing, on grounds of age and poor health.

Esquivel's bank accounts in Venezuela have been frozen, and Venezuela is carrying out its own investigation.

(Reporting by Diego Ore; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Andrew Hay)

Rafael Esquivel, attends a news conference in Caracas May 10, 2012.  REUTERS/Jorge Silva