BERN, Switzerland — Switzerland’s justice ministry on Tuesday granted an American request to extradite former Costa Rican soccer federation president Eduardo Li in the FIFA bribery case.
Li was ousted from the FIFA executive committee two days before he could take up his seat after being arrested on May 27 in a dawn raid on a Zurich hotel along with six other football officials.
Li can appeal against the extradition order at Switzerland’s federal criminal court within 30 days.
Costa Rica authorities have also opened an investigation against Li, who is accused by the U.S. of asking for a six-figure payment from marketing agency Traffic USA as part of an agreement for rights for Costa Rica’s home qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup. That deal was worth $2.55 million to $3 million, depending on the team’s success, the U.S. indictment alleges.
“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,” the Swiss Federal Office of Justice said in a statement, referencing the extradition request.
A civil engineer and son of Chinese immigrants, Li became involved in football in 2004 after buying the franchise of a first division club in Costa Rica. He was credited with some of the recent successes of Costa Rica, including the national team’s appearance in the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
AP video of Li’s arrest in May https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDJ6FKW-uoU&app=desktop
The Associated Press