SANTA CRUZ: Jailed Bolivan football Carlos Chavez has written to FIFA president Sepp Blatter protesting his innocence writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Chavez, president of the FBF and treasurer of embattled South American confederation CONMEBOL, is being held in Bolovia’s Palmasola prison in Santa Cruz on fraud and other corruption charges which he denies.
Last week he wrote from prison to world federation leader Blatter objecting to his replacement as FBF president. Chavez protested that he was being held unjustly “on the basis of unfounded allegations concerning television and sponsorship contracts.”
Chavez also protested to CONMEBOL president Juan Angel Napout, confusing the regional confederation which refused to recognise only a new FBF president – only to be informed by the Bolivians that no successor to Chavez had yet been chosen.
An extraordinary congress, CONEMBOL was subsequently informed by FBF general secretary Walter Torrico, had decided ‘only’ to sack Chavez from the presidency he had held since 2006. League president Marco Ortega has taken over on an interim basis pending the election of a new leader next month.
Torrico hit back angrily at Chavez for “confusing the good faith of CONMEBOL in writing to [Napout] and to FIFA that he had detained on issues concerning only local public authorities and not directors and officials of the federation.”
CONMEBOL and world federation FIFA intend to examine the accounts of the Bolivian federation in an investigation running parallel to that of local prosecutors.
Police followed up last week’s seizure of 22 boxes of documents from the FBF HQ in Cochabamba with a further swoop on its offices in Santa Cruz. Investigators seized three computers, a laptop, a flash drive and more documents according to Attorney-General Ramiro Guerrero.
Chavez is one of five senior FBF officials being held on corruption charhes. Also detained in Palmasola is Alberto Lozada, executive secretary of the FBF, federation, while investigation are ongoing into former league president Fernando Humérez, regional league boss Jorge Justiniano and former federation general secretary Pedro Zambrano.
One of the issues concerning Chavez revolves around the alleged misappropriation of some of the $400,000 raised from a 2013 friendly between Bolivia and Brazil. The game was staged to raise funds for the family of a fan, Kevin Beltran, who had been killed at an earlier game.
Beltran’s father, Limbert Beltran, has claimed that the family has yet to see its own due share of receipts from the game.
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