FOJ approves extradition of Eduardo Li

Keywords: Corruption | Extradition

Press Release, FOJ, 29.09.2015

Berne. The Federal Office of Justice (FoJ) has approved the extradition of Eduardo Li to the USA. The Costa-Rican citizen has 30 days in which to appeal to the Swiss Federal Criminal Court against the FOJ's ruling.

The former president of the Costa Rican Football Federation (FEDEFUT) was arrested in Zurich along with six other FIFA officials on 27 May 2015, on the basis of an arrest request from the US. He was then held in custody pending extradition. The formal US extradition request which was submitted on 1 July 2015 is based on an arrest warrant issued on 20 May 2015 by the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York. Li is accused of taking bribes in connection with the sale of marketing rights for World Cup 2018 qualifiers to a US sports marketing company.

Market distortion

In its extradition ruling, the FOJ concluded that all of the conditions for extradition are fulfilled. Specifically, the facts laid down in the US extradition request are also punishable under Swiss law (the principle of dual criminality). According to the request, by accepting bribes for the award of sports marketing contracts, Li massively influenced the competitive situation and distorted the market for media rights in connection with the World Cup qualifying matches. Other sports marketing companies were placed at a disadvantage. Furthermore, among other things the Costa Rican Football Federation was prevented from negotiating marketing agreements which might have been more favourable. In Switzerland, such conduct would be deemed unfair practices under the Federal Act on Unfair Competition.

The FOJ's extradition ruling is not yet legally enforceable. Li has 30 days in which to lodge an appeal with the Federal Criminal Court, and five days in which to notify the FOJ of his intent to do so. The decision of the Federal Criminal Court may be taken before the Federal Supreme Court only under certain circumstances – specifically if there are indications of severe deficiencies in the foreign criminal proceedings.

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