August 18, 2015 / 1:20 AM / 4 years ago

Nicaragua charges ex-FIFA official Rocha, seeks extradition

FIFA President Sepp Blatter (R) and Julio Rocha (L), president of the Nicaraguan Federation of Football (NFF), inaugurate a new football stadium in Managua April 14, 2011. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas

MANAGUA (Reuters) - Nicaragua has charged former FIFA Development Officer Julio Rocha with money laundering and embezzlement, the country’s attorney general, Julia Guido, said on Monday, and is seeking his extradition.

Rocha was arrested in Zurich in May after being indicted by the United States along with 13 other soccer officials and sports marketing executives on graft charges, in a corruption scandal that has rocked world soccer’s governing body.

Guido said that Rocha, who agreed to be extradited from Switzerland back to his native Nicaragua earlier this month, held a soccer broadcasting rights contract worth $150,000 with Traffic Sports USA, of which $100,000 was an “international bribe” that entered Nicaragua through a Spanish bank.

Rocha, a former president of his country’s football association (Fenifut), was charged on Aug. 4 with money laundering and embezzlement, with the state and financial system the claimants, Guido said. The charges came to light on Monday.

She added that the investigation had not yet concluded.

U.S. authorities must now decide whether they agree to Nicaragua being given priority in Rocha’s extradition.

“We hope they give Nicaragua priority, he is a Nicaraguan national, he committed the crime here in Nicaragua, the state was harmed,” Guido said.

Reporting by Ivan Castro; Writing by Christine Murray; Editing by Alan Crosby

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