Updated 10:56 AM EDT, Sat, Oct 23, 2021

Paraguay Football Body Raided Amid FIFA Corruption Issue

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Authorities from Paraguay scoured the CONMEBOL headquarters, the South American soccer confederation, in response to a request from U.S. justice officials to probe alleged corruption practices in the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

Cristóbal Cáceres, one of CONMEBOL's legal representatives, told Reuters that the probe was linked to the pending case of former confederation chief Nicolás Leoz in the United States, where he was indicted for corruption.

According to the Paraguayan state prosecutors, the raid at the headquarters, conducted on Thursday, aimed to seek papers about "business concessions and broadcasting rights for sporting events."

Cáceres said that CONMEBOL is cooperating with the investigation and are providing all pertinent documents that they have to the authorities.

"We are providing the documents that are being asked for," he told Reuters.

However, he admitted that some of the papers the police wanted, particularly some that are linked to Leoz, are not in their possession.

Meanwhile, Alfredo Montanaro, another lawyer for the confederation, called the raid "irresponsible," while talking to BBC.

"It is very strange. We have been cooperating with the judicial authorities of the United States, Uruguay and Paraguay," he stated.

According to Reuters, the U.S. indicted 41 individuals and entities linked to the FIFA corruption issue, including top soccer officials from Central and South America.

Aside from Leoz, CONMEBOL former presidents Juan Angel Napout and Eugenio Figueredo were also indicted per an ESPN report.

Reuters further noted that the raided CONMEBOL headquarters is located along the outskirts of Paraguay's capital, Asuncion, where Leoz in held under house arrest since his indictment in May.

Napout, on the other hand, is being accused of soliciting bribes from two sports marketing firms in exchange for his support for awarding commercial rights to popular South American soccer events, including the famous Copa Libertadores.

He was arrested in a luxury hotel in Zurich, Switzerland, on December 3 last year, leading to his resignation on December 11 as the president of CONMEBOL.

Meanwhile, Guatemalan football federation former general secretary Hector Trujillo who was charged with corruption in the U.S. is also held under house arrest, but is allowed to go out provided he wear an electronic monitor and stays within 80 kilometers of the Brooklyn federal court house.

Parallel investigations being conducted by American and Swiss authorities focus on contracts as well as the hosting rights granted to Russia and Qatar for the World Cup to be held in 2018 and 2022, respectively.

However, the investigation expanded to dealings for the past two decades, as authorities found out the extent of corruption in the organization, inadvertently bringing soccer's international governing body into an unexpected crisis.

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