Sports

Wanted Guatemala football official nabbed in cruise ship search

MIAMI: US authorities swooped at dawn Friday on a Disney cruise ship in Florida where a top Guatemalan football official wanted over the deepening FIFA corruption scandal was enjoying a family holiday, officials and media said.

Hector Trujillo, secretary general of Guatemala’s Football Federation, was among 16 additional current or former football officials indicted in the United States on Thursday, part of a roiling scandal at FIFA, the game’s graft-mired world governing body.

“Hector Trujillo was arrested this morning at approximately 6:00 am (1100 GMT) by CBP (customs) without incident on a cruise ship in Port Canaveral, Florida,” said FBI spokeswoman Kelly Langmesser.

“He was then turned over to FBI custody. He was to be presented in federal court today in Florida.”

Trujillo, 62, was aboard a Disney cruise ship with several relatives, including grandchildren, when he was arrested, said the WPLG channel.

In addition to his work at the national football federation, Trujillo is an alternate judge in the Constitutional Court, Guatemala’s highest tribunal.

“This is an event that impacts the Constitutional Court because of the serious accusations made against a judge, and this impacts all the people of Guatemala,” said the head of Guatemala’s Constitutional Court, Gloria Porras.

Guatemalan prosecutors said separately that the United States had sent an extradition request for the head of the football federation, Brayan Jimenez.

The executive committee of Guatemala’s football federation said it had suspended Jimenez and Trujillo and a general assembly would make final decisions about their posts on December 22.

They are suspected of taking bribes to attribute marketing rights for major FIFA fixtures, in the process violating US laws on wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering.

Jimenez was a member of FIFA’s committee for fair play and social responsibility. He stepped down from that role just hours before Trujillo’s arrest was announced.

Another Guatemalan indictee is Rafael Salguero, a former FIFA executive committee member.

Trujillo, Jimenez and Salguero were all handed provisional bans along with four others by CONCACAF’s executive committee on Friday. All seven are included in the indictment.

The others who received provisional bans are Alfredo Hawit, president of CONCACAF; Rafael Callejas, president of Honduras from 1990-1994 and a member of FIFA’s television and marketing committee; Reynaldo Vasquez, El Salvador football’s former president and Ariel Alvarado, ex-president of Panama’s football federation from 2004-12.

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