Venezuelan soccer official Esquivel agrees to U.S. extradition
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Venezuelan soccer official Rafael Esquivel has agreed to be extradited from Switzerland to face charges in the United States in an ongoing investigation into alleged corruption in the sport, the Swiss government said on Friday.
The Swiss Federal Office of Justice said Esquivel, the former president of Venezuela's football federation, withdrew his appeal against the extradition and would be escorted by police to the United States within 10 days.
He was arrested in Zurich last May along with six other officials from world soccer governing body FIFA on a U.S. warrant.
Since then, more high-ranking soccer officials have been indicted in a sweeping U.S. probe alleging kickback and bribery schemes related to the marketing of the sport.
The U.S. indictment accuses Esquivel, who also had served on the South American Football Confederation's executive committee, of receiving millions of dollars in bribes in connection with the sale of marketing rights to the Copa America tournaments in 2007, 2015, 2016, 2019 and 2023.
"He's waived extradition and is willing to face the charges here in the U.S," said David Goldstein, who is Esquivel's U.S. attorney.
FIFA has been thrown into turmoil by the U.S. and Swiss investigations. On Friday, it voted on a slate of reforms meant to increase transparency curb corruption and was set to elect a new president after the ouster of its long-time leader Sepp Blatter.
(Reporting by Mica Rosenberg and David Ingram; Editing by Paul Simao)