Julio Rocha extradited to the USA

Keywords: Corruption | Extradition

Press Release, FOJ, 18.05.2016

Bern. Julio Rocha, former President of the Nicaraguan Football Federation, was extradited to the USA today. Two US police officers took charge of him in Zurich and accompanied him on the flight to New York. All nine FIFA officials who were arrested last year in Zurich have now been extradited.

Most of the FIFA officials arrested in Zurich on 27 May and 3 December 2015 agreed to their extradition to the USA (Jeffrey Webb, José Maria Marin, Juan Angel Napout and Alfredo Hawit) or to Uruguay (Eugenio Figueredo). Eduardo Li accepted the extradition ruling issued by the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) by withdrawing his appeal. In three cases (Rafael Esquivel, Costas Takkas und Julio Rocha), the Federal Criminal Court upheld the FOJ rulings in full. The Rocha case was referred to the Federal Supreme Court, which also confirmed his extradition to the USA. Specifically, both courts held that the market distortion caused by the payment of bribes and kickbacks would also be punishable in Switzerland under the Federal Act on Unfair Competition, and affirmed the jurisdiction of the USA over the offences.

Legal assistance proceedings still ongoing

Although extradition proceedings in the FIFA case have now been concluded, the legal assistance proceedings are still ongoing. Further to a US request for legal assistance of 6 March 2015, as well as four supplementary requests, the FOJ has had an extensive body of banking records obtained for the US authorities. Originally, this evidence concerned documents on around 50 accounts with ten different banks which were alleged to have been used to route bribes to the high-ranking FIFA officials concerned. As the proceedings moved forward, the FOJ obtained additional records for an as-yet unconfirmed number of other accounts.

Based on eight partial final rulings, which were not challenged, the FOJ has been able to hand banking records over to the US authorities on a continuous basis since the end of December 2015. A simplified handover process was possible in three cases, because the account-holders consented to their records being released. Appeals against two partial final rulings were brought before the Federal Criminal Court, and a further 16 partial final rulings have not yet become legally enforceable. Should the 30-day appeals period expire unused, the FOJ will be able to hand over a further extensive collection of banking records to the US authorities in June. This will mean that well over half of the US requests for assistance will have been fulfilled. Further partial final rulings are currently being prepared. It is also possible that more documents will be handed over in simplified proceedings.

Assets remain frozen

Further to the requests for legal assistance from the USA, the FOJ has frozen approximately USD 80 million in 13 bank accounts. These assets will remain frozen until the legal assistance proceedings have been concluded. In a second step, once they have a final and absolute confiscation order from a US court, the US authorities can apply to have these assets transferred to the USA.

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