September 17, 2015 / 2:18 PM / 4 years ago

Swiss approve extradition of Uruguay's Figueredo to U.S. in soccer probe

Eugenio Figueredo gives his first news conference since taking charge after the resignation of former President Nicolas Leoz, in Asuncion April 30, 2013. REUTERS/Jorge Adorno

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss authorities have approved the extradition of Uruguayan citizen Eugenio Figueredo to the United States as part of an investigation into suspected corruption in soccer, the government said on Thursday.

The former vice-president of the South American Football Confederation and former vice-president of world soccer body FIFA was arrested in Zurich along with six other FIFA officials on May 27 on the basis of a U.S. arrest warrant.

He has 30 days to appeal against the decision by the Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) to allow extradition, the FOJ said in a statement.

Of the seven, former FIFA Vice President Jeffrey Webb agreed in July to be extradited to New York. He pleaded not guilty and was released on bail.

The U.S. Department of Justice asked Switzerland last month to give priority to a U.S. request to extradite former FIFA official Julio Rocha over a later request from his native Nicaragua.

The U.S. indictment accuses Figueredo of taking bribes worth millions of dollars from a Uruguayan sports marketing company in connection with the sale of marketing rights to the Copa America tournaments in 2015, 2016, 2019 and 2023, the FOJ said.

He is also alleged to have wrongly acquired U.S. citizenship by submitting forged medical reports in 2005 and 2006, it added.

The FOJ ruled that extradition was possible because the charges are also punishable under Swiss law.

Figueredo now has a month to lodge an appeal with the Federal Criminal Court, and five days in which to notify the FOJ that he intends to do this, it said.

Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Toby Chopra

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