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FIFA scandal: Costa Rica opens money laundering probe of Eduardo Li

May 27, 2015

Updated at 11:27 a.m. on Wednesday with comments from Costa Rican foreign affairs officials.

Following the early-morning arrest Wednesday of several FIFA leaders, including Costa Rican Eduardo Li, in a massive corruption probe spearheaded by the United States Justice Department, Costa Rica has now opened an inquiry into Li’s assets here, a high-ranking Costa Rican justice official told The Tico Times.

According to Celso Gamboa, acting deputy at Costa Rica’s Prosecutor’s Office, the U.S. Justice Department is collaborating with Costa Rican prosecutors in the ongoing probe in order to determine if any crimes were committed in Costa Rica.

“Most of today’s events occurred outside Costa Rica’s jurisdiction, but it is our responsibility to follow up on that and find out if any crimes were committed here,” Gamboa told The Tico Times, referring to Li’s arrest in Zurich.

Costa Rican investigators are now studying properties, bank accounts and other assets linked to Li, he said.

If Li was discovered to have committed any crimes here related to the case, the U.S. likely would have the first opportunity to extradite and prosecute him.

Li, the president of the Costa Rican Football Federation and a FIFA executive committee member was arrested along with six other FIFA officials at a luxury hotel in Zurich where they were preparing for a congress starting Thursday. All now face deportation to the United States on charges of accepting more than $100 million in bribes.

A spokeswoman for Costa Rica’s Foreign Ministry, Melissa Durán, confirmed that the Costa Rica Embassy in Switzerland so far has been unable to contact Li.
Costa Rican Ambassador to Switzerland Isabel Montero currently is establishing contact with the Cantonal Police Precint in Zurich, where Li has been in custody since Wednesday morning.

Foreign Vice Minister Alejandro Solano said officials also are in conversations with judicial authorities in Zurich to determine the implications of the charges against Li, brought by U.S. officials.

L. Arias contributed. This story is developing. Follow updates at ticotimes.net.

Read more here: Costa Rica’s soccer chief arrested in FIFA corruption probe

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