U.S. judge allows release of Venezuelan ex-soccer official on bond

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 10, 2016 6:25 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former South American soccer boss who was arrested last year as part of a U.S. investigation into corruption in soccer's world governing body FIFA won the right to be released from jail on Thursday on a $7 million bond.

Rafael Esquivel, a former president of the Venezuelan Football Federation and vice president of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) is accused by the U.S. Department of Justice of receiving bribes worth millions of dollars in connection with the sale of marketing rights to regional soccer tournaments.

Esquivel, wearing prison issue khaki coveralls at a court hearing in front of Brooklyn federal judge Raymond Dearie, was to be released to his son and daughter after securing the bond with $2 million in cash and 12 properties.

He will be subject to home confinement and electronic monitoring.

The judge said Esquivel would not be permitted to leave New York or Florida, but did not give details about where he will be held.

A lawyer for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn said at the hearing it was "a substantial bail package." Esquivel's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Esquivel is one of 42 individuals and entities charged by U.S. authorities investigating corruption in FIFA in a probe that has rocked soccer worldwide and sent the organization into crisis. He was arrested last May in Zurich and extradited to the United States earlier this month.

(Reporting by Brendan McDermid and Mica Rosenberg; Editing by Bernard Orr)