Ecuador denies request of soccer officials involved in FIFA scandal

Quito, Jan 15 (IANS) Three executives from the Ecuadorian Football Federation (FEF) have been refused remand and will not have their bank accounts unblocked due to their alleged involvement in the FIFA corruption scandal, announced the Ecuador’s attorney general’s office.

“At the request of Ecuador’s attorney general’s office, the appeal submitted by two of the three defendants to review measures has been denied,” announced the office via its Twitter account on Thursday.

The office explained the decision was taken after a public hearing was held in response to a request made by two of the defendants lawyers, reports Xinhua.

FEF’s suspended president Luis Chiriboga was one of the two defendants who had requested a review. Chiriboga has been under house arrest since December 5, 2015 and is accused, by the United States justice department, of participating in a corruption network within the world soccer governing body FIFA.

Chiriboga had asked for his bank accounts, which are under investigation by Ecuador’s money laundering unit, to be unblocked.

The other executive to make a request was the FEF coordinator and head of logistics, Vinicio Luna. Luna, who has been held at prison here since December 5, 2015, had asked for his pre-trial detention to be revoked.

Both executives are being investigated by Ecuador’s justice system for alleged asset laundering along with the FEF secretary Francisco Acosta, also under house arrest.

Ecuador’s attorney general’s office began an investigation into the three defendants in December 2015 based on the information from US prosecutor Loretta Lynch, who is in charge of the investigation into FIFA.

Lynch accused 16 current and former Latin American high-ranking soccer executives of corruption in December.

Chiriboga was included among this group, accused of receiving bribes for favouring third parties when allocating television rights and publicity for various tournaments.

The judge in charge of the case “opposed” the idea of unblocking Chiriboga’s accounts “because it has not been determined if the money is illegal”.

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