BERN: Switzerland’s federal criminal court has rejected an appeal from former Venezuela football federation president Rafael Esquivel to be released from jail because of ill health writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Esquivel was one of seven high-ranking FIFA directors and marketing executives arrested in a dawn raid by Swiss police on May 27 at the request of the United States Department of Justice.
The US authorities were granted permission, initially, to enact the extradition warrant, enacted against charges connecting Esquivel to fraud, conspiracy and money-laundering in connection with the sale of commercial rights to international tournaments in Latin America.
Esquivel is appealing and thus continues to remain in detention in Switzerland. His lawyers argued that he had lost weight while in detention and was also suffering from stress.
However the court ruled that proposals for a signifcant bail bond and/or electronic monitoring could not guarantee that Esquivel would not seek to flee the country.
Esquivel was suspended from all football activities by the FIFA ethics committee after being arrested. He had been not only president of the Venezuelan football federation but a vice-president of the South American football confederation CONMEBOL.
A statement by the Swiss authorities did not refer to Esquivel by name but was thought to have concerned his case.
It said: “On 2 October 2015, the Appeals Chamber of the Federal Criminal Court rejected an appeal filed by one of the FIFA officials currently in detention pending extradition proceedings against the decision by the Federal Office of Justice to reject his request for release on bail.
“The court held that there was a risk that the appellant would abscond if released. The arguments put forward in support of his release, such as his advanced age and poor state of health, were not regarded as sufficient to counter the risk of absconding.
“The court took into account that appellant has no close ties to Switzerland and is more than capable of travelling long distances. Measures such as money bail, electronic monitoring, etc. would not adequately reduce the risk of flight.
“Further medical tests are currently being carried out to establish whether there is any medical reason why the appellant should not remain in detention.”