Businessman arrested on Fifa allegations

A businessman who was indicted by US authorities in connection to the Fifa corruption case has turned himself in to Italian police.

Businessman arrested on Fifa allegations

Bolzano police official Giuseppe Tricarico said that Alejandro Burzaco arrived at the police station yesterday morning with an Italian and Spanish-speaking lawyer.

Police spokesman Francesco Bianco later said Burzaco, who is accused of being involved in a $110m (€97.5m) bribe, was placed under house arrest after a hearing in the northern Italian city.

The 50-year-old Burzaco, who has dual Argentine-Italian nationality, has rented a house in Bolzano.

He was one of 14 people indicted by US authorities on May 27 on bribery, vote-rigging and other corruption charges. Seven of the indicted men were arrested during dawn raids on a luxury Zurich hotel.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who has not been officially implicated in the investigation, won re-election to a fifth, four-year term on May 29. However, four days later, as the scandal intensified, the 79-year-old Blatter said he would resign and start the process of looking for a successor.

In a separate Swiss investigation, authorities seized documents at Fifa headquarters in their probe into the bidding contests for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments. Burzaco was named on Interpol’s most wanted list last Wednesday, along with five other men with ties to Fifa.

Burzaco and Hugo and Mariano Jinkis, also from Argentina, were named in the US indictment saying they bribed soccer officials in exchange for the media and commercial rights to international tournaments.

Argentine Secretary of Security Sergio Berni said yesterday that the whereabouts of the Jinkis was still unknown. Berni told Radio del Plata that authorities were trying to find them.

Burzaco, who is the president of sports marketing company Torneos y Competencias, and the Jinkis merged their companies to form part of Datisa, which obtained the exclusive worldwide rights to the 2015, 2019 and 2023 Copa America tournaments as well as the 2016 centenary edition of the South American championship.

The indictment states that Datisa agreed to pay $110m in bribes to Jeffrey Webb, Eugenio Figueredo, Rafael Esquivel, Jose Maria Marin, Nicolas Leoz and several other soccer officials for the rights.

Leoz, a former Fifa executive committee member who is under house arrest in Paraguay, was also named on the Interpol list, as was Fifa vice president Jack Warner and Jose Margulies, a Brazilian broadcast executive. Warner was arrested in Trinidad but has been released on bail.

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