Ex-South American soccer chief in FIFA scandal under house arrest

Reuters

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Nicolas Leoz, president of South American soccer body Conmebol, attends a news conference in this file picture taken in Asuncion, in Paraguay, April 23, 2013. Photo: Reuters Nicolas Leoz, president of South American soccer body Conmebol, attends a news conference in this file picture taken in Asuncion, in Paraguay, April 23, 2013. Photo: Reuters

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The former head of South America's soccer federation was under house arrest on Monday evening, a senior police official said, five days after he was accused by the United States of involvement in a corruption scandal that has rocked world soccer.
Earlier in the day a judge ordered the detention of 86-year-old Nicolas Leoz, who had been receiving medical treatment in a private clinic he owned in the Paraguayan capital, Asuncion.
Leoz is among nine soccer officials and five sports media and promotions executives hit with U.S. charges involving more than $150 million in bribes. Leoz headed the regional CONMEBOL federation for 27 years. He stepped down in 2013. He was a member of governing body FIFA's executive committee for more than a decade.
U.S. officials are seeking to extradite defendants who are outside the United States.
"He is under house arrest," said district police commissioner Clemente Espinola. "There's a patrol car outside his house."
Leoz had been receiving care for hypertension.
Judge Humberto Otazu had ruled that Leoz should not be held in prison while the extradition request was processed because of his age. Paraguayan law says defendants over the age of 70 should not be incarcerated pending trial.
Swiss police last week arrested seven senior past and present soccer officials, including Leoz's successor at CONMEBOL, Eugenio Figueredo, who is a Uruguayan citizen.
Before the judge gave his order, a doctor from Paraguay's judiciary examined Leoz in the presence of the judge. Leoz was transferred to his residence under police custody.

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