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Sports News

Swiss return frozen $40 million to South American soccer federation

FILE PHOTO: CONMEBOL Headquarters - Luque, Paraguay - December 17, 2019 . REUTERS/Jorge Adorno/File Photo

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss authorities have seized around $40 million in funds frozen in Swiss bank accounts amid soccer corruption investigations and are returning the money to South American soccer confederation CONMEBOL, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.

The Swiss Office of the Attorney General (OAG) had opened several criminal proceedings in connection with South American football officials, including former CONMEBOL President Nicolas Leoz and former Secretary General Eduardo Deluca. Both were alleged to have abused their positions to unlawfully enrich themselves and perhaps others, the OAG said.

"The funds forfeited between December 2019 and September 2020 amounted to around 36.6 million Swiss francs ($40.1 million) and were unlawfully acquired to the prejudice of CONMEBOL," the OAG said here in a statement.

“As the party suffering harm within the respective criminal proceedings is doubtlessly known – the CONMEBOL – the forfeited funds will be returned directly to it.”

Swiss criminal proceedings against Leoz were abandoned after his death in August 2019, while Deluca was convicted by summary penalty order of complicity in multiple instances of aggravated criminal mismanagement.

Last month the OAG abandoned criminal proceedings against Deluca as well because Argentina was conducting an investigation in the same matter, the OAG said.

($1 = 0.9134 Swiss francs)

Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Tomasz Janowski

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