ZURICH: Juan Angel Napout, arrested head of the South American fedration CONMEBOL, is ready to accept extradition to the United States from Switzerland writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Confirmation has come from the US-based lawyers for the Paraguayan who was arrested last Thursday in a dawn raid at the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich by police acting on a FIFAGate warrant.
Napout, who became head of CONMEBOL and thus a FIFA vice-president in the autumn of 2014, was detained hours before a meeting of the world federation’s executive committee summoned to discuss reform recommendations.
A statement on behalf of Napout said he wanted to fly to New York as soon as possible to prove his innocence and his “dedication to the promotion of reform and transparency” within FIFA.
It added: “His detention last week was contrary to his record and Senor Napout not only insists firmly on his innocence but also that he intends to contest these unfounded allegations.”
The 57-year-old tobacco millionaire was president of the Paraguayan federation from 2007 to 2014.
According to the indictment Napout accepted millions of dollars in bribes connected to the award of commercial contracts for major tournaments in the Americas.
The indictment added: “[He] sought to portray himself as an agent of reform, notwithstanding his own long-standing involvement in the solicitation and receipt of bribe and kickback payments in exchange for his influence as a CONMEBOL and FIFA official.”