(QCOSTARICA) —The president of the Costa Rica Soccer Federation (Federación Costarricense de Fútbol), Eduardo Li, has refused to accept voluntary extradition from Switzerland to the United States, after being accused of wire fraud and money laundering charges spearheaded by the United States Justice Department.
Li is one of seven FIFA executives who were arrested in a hotel in Zurich on Wednesday.
In Costa Rica, the Directorate of Taxation of the Ministry of Finance (Dirección General de Tributación Directa del Ministerio de Hacienda) here opened an investigation into Li’s assets. This investigation is independent of the investigation by the Ministerio Público who will be looking to find out if any crimes were committed here.
“The investigation opened today aims to determine whether the hypothesis of the U.S. Department of Justice probe related to a case of money laundering and corruption involving Eduardo Li … can be corroborated,” said Tatiana Vargas, spokesperson for the Ministerio Publico.
In Switzerland, Li could spend at least 45 days and up to one year, if the extradition process is complicated, while U.S. authorities present the required paperwork to Swiss authorities to have Li in Brooklyn, New York court, for a preliminary hearing.
Given that Li is not an American, it is most probable that he will be remanded until pre-trial hearings.
At the Foreign Ministry, Chancellor Manuel Gonzalez, said Li with consular protection, which basically involves ensuring the Li’s basic rights are respected.
Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis told reporters he was surprised by the news of the Li’s arrest. “I hope the name of Costa Rica is not affected,” he said.