ASUNCION: Police in Paraguay have raided the headquarters in Asuncion of CONMEBOL, the South American football confederation, at the request of the United States Department of Justice writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
A raft of senior South American football directors, including the past three presidents of CONMEBOL, are wanted by the US authorities to answer charges of corruption, bribery and money-laundering in the $200m FIFAGate investigation.
Veteran Paraguayan Nicolas Leoz is contested an extradition application, Eugenio Figueredo is currently facing corruption charges in Uruguay and Juan Angel Napout – another Paraguayan and most recent CONMEBOL boss – has accepted to face charges in the US.
A statement from the Paraguayan interior ministry said that agents from the criminal money-laundering investigatory office had entered the CONMEBOL HQ in search of documents relating to broadcasting contracts.
They had done so “within the framework of international legal cooperation supported by the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters ratified by law” on a warrant granted by Judge Jose Agustin Delmas in response to a request from the US DoJ.
Six months ago President Horacio Cartes issued a decree cancelling the diplomatic immunity previously enjoyed by CONMEBOL and its offices.
Two weeks ago the Paragauayan media claimed that Gorka Villar, the Spanish secretary-general of CONMEBOL, had made an early-morning visit to the CONMEBOL offices in search of documents relating to possible legal action against him in Uruguay.
Villar is the son of senior FIFA and UEFA vice-president Angel Maria Villar who is also long-serving head of the Spanish football federation.