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US judge denies bail for FIFA fraud suspect

Eduardo Li, pictured on May 17, 2011, had proposed he be freed on $5 million bail, $300,000 of it payable in cash, but a US judge ruled it was not enough. PHOTO/AFP

Eduardo Li, pictured on May 17, 2011, had proposed he be freed on $5 million bail, $300,000 of it payable in cash, but a US judge ruled it was not enough. PHOTO/AFP

NEW YORK, February 11th – A US judge on Wednesday refused to release a FIFA corruption scandal suspect on bail, saying the man’s proposal to post $5 million was not enough.

Judge Robert Levy scheduled a new hearing February 23 for the suspect, Eduardo Li, the former president of the Costa Rican Football Federation.

Li had proposed he be freed on $5 million bail, $300,000 of it payable in cash. Levy said that was not enough.

Prosecutors opposed Li’s proposal, calling instead for bail of $10 million to $15 million, with $5 million to $7 million of that payable in cash. The rest would be in the form of property in the United States.

At the next hearing Li will be able to make a new offer.

Li was one of seven top football officials arrested in a raid on a Zurich luxury hotel in May. That kicked off an unprecedented crisis at FIFA, world football’s governing body.

Li’s arrest came two days before he was to have been elected to the FIFA executive committee in representation of CONCACAF, football’s governing body in North and Central America as well as the Caribbean.

Switzerland extradited Li to the United States in December to face charges that include fraud and money laundering. Li says he is innocent.

After Honduran Alfredo Hawit, the suspended president of CONCACAF, was moved to house arrest last week, Li is the only suspect left behind bars in the United States.

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The spiraling scandal at world football’s governing body FIFA has led to the suspension of its president Sepp Blatter from any activity related to football.

 

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