Fifa controversy: Former South American soccer chief under house arrest

Arrest of Nicolas Leoz comes five days after US claim of involvement in corruption scandal

The former head of South America’s soccer federation was put under house arrest Monday evening, a senior police official said.

The arrest of Nicolas Leoz came five days after he was accused by the United States of involvement in a corruption scandal that has rocked world soccer.

A judge ordered the detention of Mr Leoz (86), who had been receiving medical treatment for hypertension in a private clinic he owned in the Paraguayan capital, Asuncion.

Mr Leoz is among nine soccer officials and five sports media and promotions executives hit with US charges involving more than $150 million (€137 million) in bribes.

He headed the regional CONMEBOL federation for 27 years and stepped down in 2013. He was a member of governing body Fifa’s executive committee for more than a decade.

US officials are seeking to extradite defendants who are outside the United States.

"He is under house arrest," said district police commissioner Clemente Espinola. "There's a patrol car outside his house."

Judge Humberto Otazu had ruled that Mr Leoz should not be held in prison while the extradition request was processed because of his age. Paraguayan law says defendants over the age of 70 should not be incarcerated pending trial.

Before the judge gave his order, a doctor from Paraguay’s judiciary examined Leoz in the presence of the judge. Leoz was transferred to his residence under police custody.

Swiss police last week arrested seven senior past and present soccer officials, including Mr Leoz's successor at CONMEBOL, Eugenio Figueredo, who is a Uruguayan citizen.

Reuters

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