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FIFA official to remain in custody

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GENEVA, June 26 – A Swiss court said Friday it had rejected an appeal filed by one of seven football officials arrested in Zurich last month demanding that he be released from custody pending extradition proceedings.

The appeals chamber of Switzerland’s Federal Criminal Court said it had struck down the FIFA official’s appeal because it deemed “there was a risk that the appellant would abscond if released.”

The court did not identify which of the football executives had filed the rejected appeal.

But a source close to the case said it was 83-year-old Uruguayan Eugenio Figueredo, a FIFA vice president and former head of the South American football association CONMEBOL and of the Uruguay football association.

“The arguments put forward in support of his release, such as his advanced age and poor state of health, were not regarded as sufficient to counter the risk of absconding,” the court said.

“The court took into account that appellant has no close ties to Switzerland and is more than capable of travelling long distances,” it said.

“Measures such as money bail, electronic monitoring, etc would not adequately reduce the risk of flight,” it said, adding that “based on a report from the Zurich prison medical services… there is no medical reason why the appellant should not remain in detention.”

Figueredo was one of two FIFA vice presidents caught up in the May 27 sting on a luxury Zurich hotel, where seven top football officials were arrested over allegations they were involved in accepting more than $150 million in bribes.

They are now fighting extradition to the United States.

FIFA has since been engulfed in a crisis that has seen 18 people, including Figueredo, indicted in the United States, and the federation’s once seemingly invincible chief Sepp Blatter announce he would step down after 17 years.

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