(Socer fraud) Ex-South American chiefs accused of US$129m plunder

Sports | 8 Jun 2017 12:17 pm

The South American soccer confederation has accused three of its former presidents of embezzling US$129 million from the regional body. 

CONMEBOL made the allegation against Nicolas Leoz, Eugenio Figueredo and Juan Angel Napout in a complaint filed Tuesday to the Paraguayan attorney general's office. The move was made after an independent audit found evidence of irregularities during the 2011-2015 period. 

According to the complaint, Leoz transferred money from CONMEBOL to two private accounts, one under his name and another in the name of his family business, NL Stevia. 

"The operations found by the audit show that CONMEBOL's patrimony was greatly affected by an ongoing, unfair and fraudulent management scheme,'' according to the complaint. 

The complaint accuses the three of the crimes of misappropriation, breach of trust, forgery, criminal association and money laundering. 

The confederation's lawyer, Osvaldo Granada, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the CONMEBOL complaint is "independent from the case brought by the New York attorneys against these people.'' 

The 88-year-old Leoz, a Paraguayan who served as confederation president from 1986-2013, is currently under house arrest in Asuncion and fighting extradition to the United States on charges of tax evasion, money laundering and wire fraud. 

The South American body has been plagued by corruption, which was exposed two years ago during the FIFA scandal. Leoz's two successors, Figueredo and Napout, were both arrested on corruption charges.-AP

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