Eduardo Li agrees to extradition to the United States
After spending more than six months in a Swiss detention center, former Costa Rican football head Eduardo Li has decided to face his judicial fate in the United States. Li, who was arrested in May along with other figures of football’s international governing body FIFA, agreed to be extradited to the U.S. to face a pair of indictments from the U.S. Justice Department that charge him with wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy, as well as other acts of bribery.
Last week, Li met with his legal team in Switzerland, according to his Costa Rican attorney Róger Guevara.
“After consulting with his lawyers, Eduardo has decided it’s in his best interest to offer himself up for extradition,” Guevara said in an emailed statement Tuesday. “The principal of innocence covers Eduardo, in the U.S. and in Costa Rica, and he has taken the decision of directly facing the charges in the United States after undergoing the process of extradition.”
In the email to The Tico Times, Guevara said that Li alerted Swiss authorities on Friday that he would accept the extradition order that he had previously appealed. Sometime within the next eight days, Li will be taken to the U.S.
If convicted in U.S. courts for the four counts levied against him, Li could face up to 20 years in prison and be subject to civil forfeiture, meaning he would have to give up any money and acquisitions stemming from the alleged bribes.
Swiss authorities initially decided to extradite Li in September, but he appealed to the government’s justice ministry while in prison. On Dec. 4, the U.S. government released a second indictment against FIFA officials, who prosecutors say have for years taken bribes and kickbacks in a massive, widespread corruption scandal.
Li was mentioned heavily in the recent 240-page indictment by the U.S. Eastern District Court of New York. The newest indictment alleges that Li asked for a $600,000 bribe from sports media company Media World in exchange for the rights to televise Costa Rica’s qualifying matches leading up to the 2022 World Cup. He received $300,000 of the requested bribe, according to prosecutors, through bank accounts located in Miami, Florida and Panama under Warrior Holding, S.A., a company located in Santa Ana, Costa Rica. Li’s friend Orlando Guerrero is listed as treasurer of the company.
You may be interested
The Tico Times at 62: Finding new ways to serve and celebrate Costa RicaKatherine Stanley - April 26, 2018
The Tico Times has been telling Costa Rica’s stories to the world since 1956 – and in the past few…
Sandinista stronghold calls for Nicaraguan leader to end repressionBlanca Morel / AFP - April 25, 2018
León, a northern city that is a bastion of support for Nicaragua's ruling Sandinista party, wants President Daniel Ortega to put…
Vinci buys more than 40 percent share of Costa Rica’s two main airportsAFP - April 25, 2018
The French company Vinci Airports bought Airports Worldwide, a portfolio with shares in 12 facilities including Costa Rica's two most…