Soccer-Ex-Costa Rica chief agrees to extradition to U.S. on bribery charges

by Reuters
Monday, 14 December 2015 23:28 GMT

NEW YORK, Dec 14 (Reuters) - A former Costa Rican soccer chief has agreed to stop fighting extradition from Switzerland to the United States to face charges that he accepted bribes in exchange for media and marketing contracts, his U.S. lawyers said on Monday.

Eduardo Li, former president of the Costa Rican soccer federation, was one of seven soccer officials arrested in a dawn raid on a luxury Zurich hotel in May. He had been about to join the executive committee of Zurich-based FIFA, world soccer's governing body.

"Mr. Li has decided to deal with the charges in a direct manner rather than through the extradition process," said Samuel Rosenthal, one of Li's lawyers. He declined to comment further.

A spokeswoman for prosecutors could not immediately be reached for comment.

Prosecutors have charged 41 people and entities this year in a probe of soccer corruption spanning the globe, with federations in the Americas the hardest hit so far as Swiss and U.S. authorities investigate. The corruption allegations prompted FIFA President Sepp Blatter to say he would resign, only days after being re-elected to a fifth term. Batter has not been charged with a crime, and denies any wrongdoing.

U.S. prosecutors say Li asked for and received hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from sports marketing companies in exchange for commercial rights to World Cup qualifier matches.

Swiss authorities approved a U.S. extradition request for Li in September, and his Costa Rica-based lawyer said at the time that Li would appeal. (Reporting by Mica Rosenberg and David Ingram; editing by Grant McCool)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.