Ex-Salvadoran soccer boss brought to US to face bribe charge

National

NEW YORK (AP) — A former soccer federation president for El Salvador was sent to New York City on Friday to face U.S. corruption charges in the long-running FIFA bribery scandal.

Salvadoran authorities had arrested Reynaldo Vasquez in 2016 as part of an international roundup of top officials of soccer’s governing body. He had denied the charges while putting up a failed extradition fight in El Salvador.

Vasquez, 65, made a remote court appearance Friday in New York where he pleaded not guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges. He was ordered held without bail.

Vasquez’s defense attorney declined comment on Friday.

Vasquez is charged in a sprawling investigation accusing dozens of key global soccer figures in what U.S. prosecutors said were schemes soliciting hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks. Many of the defendants have been extradited to the United States in recent years and ended up pleading guilty.

A 2015 indictment charged Vasquez with wire fraud and money laundering charges that carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Prosecutors say he took bribes in exchange for awarding media and marketing rights for games played by the Salvadoran national soccer team.

Vasquez is due back in court on April 7.

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