MANAGUA, Nicaragua, Aug. 18 (Andrew v. Pestano) — Nicaragua has issued money laundering and corruption charges against former FIFA executive Julio Rocha, who recently agreed to an extradition request.
Rocha was one of seven FIFA officials originally detained in Switzerland over corruption allegations in May. Nicaraguan prosecutors said they had evidence suggesting Rocha received a $100,000 kickback from a broadcasting company after signing a rights agreement.
Rocha agreed last week to be extradited to Nicaragua, but Swiss justice officials said that he could only be extradited to his home country if the United States waives its own extradition request.
The only official extradited so far to the United States has been Jeffrey Webb, the former president of CONCACAF, Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA), and FIFA vice president. He is accused of “accepting bribes totaling millions of dollars in connection with the sale of marketing rights to various sports marketing firms and keeping the money for himself.”
Rocha was a FIFA development officer and the former Central American Football Union (UNCAF) president and Nicaraguan soccer federation (FENIFUT) president. He was provisionally banned from FIFA amid the scandal.
FIFA has been embroiled in chaos and controversy since late May after the U.S. Justice Department charged 14 FIFA officials, including Rocha, and corporate executives of “racketeering, wire fraud and money-laundering conspiracies, among other offenses, in connection with the defendants’ participation in a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer.”
The scandal led FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who won reelection days after the charges were announced, to declare his resignation.
High-ranking FIFA officials, including Blatter, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke and former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner, have come under legal scrutiny by the FBI and Swiss authorities.