Culture

South American football leader Leoz dies while awaiting extradition to U.S.

One of Latin America’s most influential football personalities, Nicolas Leoz, died late on Wednesday in Asuncion, his lawyer said, as he awaited extradition to the United States on corruption charges.

By Daniela Desantis

SANTIAGO, Aug 29 (Reuters) - One of Latin America’s most influential football personalities, Nicolas Leoz, died late on Wednesday in Asuncion, his lawyer said, as he awaited extradition to the United States on corruption charges.

The 90-year-old Paraguayan, a former sports journalist, had led South American football organization CONMEBOL for nearly three decades. He also served on the executive committee of world soccer’s ruling body, FIFA.

U.S. officials were investigating Leoz on charges of bribery related to the broadcasting and marketing rights for international tournaments, part of a wide-ranging corruption scandal that has plagued FIFA for nearly a decade. Leoz had long denied the allegations.

Leoz died after several days of hospitalization in Asuncion, his lawyer Ricardo Preda told reporters. He had been under house arrest in Paraguay since 2015.

(Reporting by Daniela Desantis; writing by David Sherwood; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

((David.Sherwood@thomsonreuters.com; +56 223704250;))

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