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Swiss extradite detained FIFA official to the U.S.

One of the seven FIFA officials arrested in Zurich as part of a corruption probe has been extradited to the United States, the Swiss Justice Ministry said Thursday.

The Federal Office of Justice said the man, whom it did not identify, was extradited  Wednesday.

"He was handed over to a three-man U.S. police escort in Zurich who accompanied him on the flight to New York," the ministry said in a statement.

The official agreed last week to be extradited, unlike six others who are fighting extradition.

The extradited man is accused of "accepting bribes totaling millions of dollars in connection with the sale of marketing rights to various sports marketing firms and keeping the money for himself," the Swiss justice office said last week.

All seven men were arrested May 27 in dawn raids on a luxury hotel in Zurich by Swiss federal police at the request of American federal agencies.

They include FIFA vice president Jeffrey Webb of the Cayman Islands and former FIFA vice president Eugenio Figueredo of Uruguay. Both have been suspended from soccer duty by FIFA's ethics committee.

A total of 14 men — nine soccer officials and five marketing executives — were indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice in May, and a further four had their guilty pleas unsealed.

They are alleged to have taken part in a racketeering conspiracy paying bribes of more than $150 million over a 24-year period. The payments were tied to the award of broadcast and hosting rights for the World Cup, continental championships in North and South America, and regional club tournaments.

U.S. authorities have said more indictments should follow, and FIFA President Sepp Blatter is a target of the widening case.

Under pressure from the investigation, and a separate Swiss federal investigation of money laundering linked to FIFA's award of 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting rights, Blatter announced June 2 that he would leave office within months.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
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