KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Nov 21 – A FIFA Ethics Committee judge was arrested on suspicion of corruption in his native Malaysia and has resigned as director of a legal arbitration centre, his lawyer and reports said Wednesday.
Sundra Rajoo was detained in Malaysia late Tuesday by anti-graft investigators after flying in from Zurich, where FIFA has its headquarters, to assist authorities in a corruption probe.
He was held overnight, but released after a court accepted his representatives’ arguments that he effectively has diplomatic immunity due to his high-profile legal roles, lawyer Cheow Wee told AFP.
As well as sitting on FIFA’s Ethics Committee, Rajoo was the director of the Malaysia-based Asian International Arbitration Centre.
A series of such centres have sprung up in recent years providing dispute resolution services for individuals and companies, often in cases where the parties concerned are trying to avoid going through a country’s domestic court system.
Cheow said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had applied to hold Rajoo for seven days as “they wanted to question him regarding a corruption allegation”.
An MACC source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the agency had detained Rajoo after he arrived in Malaysia but the court had rejected their request to have him remanded in custody.
Rajoo has been accused of using his position in Malaysia to gain financial favours, reports said.
Local media reported that he has now given up his post as director at the arbitration centre.
“My client has offered assurances that he will extend the full cooperation to MACC regarding the investigation,” his lawyer said, but added that the authorities did not have the right to arrest him.
Rajoo was appointed last year as one of two deputy chairmen of the Ethics Committee’s adjudicatory chamber, which has slapped lifetime bans on several football executives named in a sprawling US Justice Department probe into corruption in the sport.
The chamber was responsible for banning former president of the governing body of world football Sepp Blatter and UEFA head Michel Platini.