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Argentina judge releases ex-soccer official in FIFA probe

Undated file photo of Argentine Jose Luis Meiszner talking to jounalists in Buenos Aires. REUTERS/Courtesy Ole/Handout via Reuters/Files
Undated file photo of Argentine Jose Luis Meiszner talking to jounalists in Buenos Aires. REUTERS/Courtesy Ole/Handout via Reuters/Files

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - A judge in Argentina on Wednesday ordered the release of a former top South American football official who has been charged by U.S. justice officials with involvement in a FIFA bribery racket.

However, the extradition of Jose Meiszner to the United States will go ahead, Meiszner's lawyer said.

Meiszner, the former secretary general of the South American regional CONMEBOL football federation, had surrendered to Argentine police in December, but requested to be put under house arrest due the state of his health.

"We requested the suspension of arrest because we considered that certain issues were not clear," Meiszner's lawyer told local radio station Radio 10.

"The extradition process continues, but Meiszner is free."

World football body FIFA was thrown into turmoil last year when U.S. prosecutors announced a sweeping probe of corruption in the sport, including how the organisation and its affiliates marketed and sold TV and radio broadcast rights to football tournaments.

The probe has led to the indictment in the United States of several dozen leading football officials, many of whom belonged to or were linked with CONMEBOL and the neighbouring CONCACAF federation, which governs football in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

(Reporting by Maximiliano Rizzi, writing by Rosalba O'Brien, editing by G Crosse)

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