Latin Americans open their own Fifa enquiries

Justice Minister Eduardo Cardozo said they were looking at possible tax evasion and money laundering within Brazil.

Costa Rica has opened an enquiry into US accusations against Eduardo Li, head of Costa Rica’s football association.

In Argentina, a judge has issued warrants for three local businessmen wanted by the US.

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff said football in her country “will only benefit” from the US corruption investigation of Fifa and other top officials of the sport.

In the meantime, the Brazilian Football Confederation has removed the name of Jose Maria Marin from the facade of its Rio de Janeiro headquarters after the former president was arrested in Switzerland on corruption charges.

A Congressional enquiry into corruption in the CBF may also be on the agenda.

On Wednesday, the Brazilian senator and former football player Romario made a formal application for an enquiry to be opened.

Mr Marin, who faces extradition to the US, was head of the CBF from 2012 to April 2015 and headed the local committee for the organisation of the 2014 World Cup.

Up to his arrest, he was part of a Fifa committee organizing the Olympic football tournaments.

In Costa Rica, prosecutors have opened an investigation into the president of the country’s football federation, Eduardo Li, who was also detained on Wednesday.

The arrest of Mr Li was met with surprise in Costa Rica. He had become a national hero after the national team’s unexpected run to the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.

A spokesman for Costa Rica’s public prosecutor said: “The investigation opened today aims to determine whether the hypothesis of the US Department of Justice probe related to a case of money laundering and corruption involving Eduardo Li can be corroborated.”

Costa Rica’s tax office said it had also opened an investigation into Mr Li’s various business interests in the country.

In Argentina, the football association – AFA – issued a statement in support of the US led investigation into Fifa.

“The Argentine Football Association states that it supports and joins the investigations on Fifa and Conmebol representatives and members, sharing the football world’s concerns as regard transparency in our beloved sport.”

A judge issued arrest warrants for three businessmen accused of conspiring to win and keep lucrative media rights contracts from regional football federations in return for millions of dollars in bribes.

The warrants were issued a day after the US Justice Department had requested them.

The head of the Argentine Cabinet, Anibal Fernandez, said the country’s tax authority would pursue any money owed it and that bribery should be investigated in Argentina “no matter the cost”.





 

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