HomeNewsBriefParaguay Questions Immunity Granted to Soccer Body
BRIEF

Paraguay Questions Immunity Granted to Soccer Body

PARAGUAY / 2 JUN 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Paraguay's Congress is considering a bill that would remove the diplomatic immunity currently enjoyed by the governing body of South America's soccer association, a move that would likely facilitate investigations of corruption within the confederation. 

On May 29, the president of Paraguay's Senate, Blas Llano, introduced a legislative proposal to strip the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) of immunity from investigation at its headquarters in the city of Luque, reported EFE. Under current Paraguayan law, prosecutors and police are prohibited from searching Conmebol's offices as part of a criminal investigation, according to ABC Color

15-06-01-Paraguay-Conmebol

Law enforcement is banned from searching Conmebol's headquarters in Paraguay. Image c/o ABC Color. 

The new bill was introduced to Congress just days after the US Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted nine high-ranking members of soccer's world governing body, FIFA, and five sports executives for soliciting $150 million in bribes and kickbacks. According to the DOJ (pdf), in 2013, sports marketing company Datisa agreed to pay out $100 million in bribes to the association's ten federation presidents and one additional official. At that time, the current head of Conmebol, Juan Angel Napout, was Paraguay's federation president, reported El Pais

Napout has not been charged with any crime. However, two former Conmebol presidents, Nicolas Leoz and Eugenio Figueredo, were identified as among those who had solicited or received bribe money. Figueredo was arrested in Switzerland as part of the FIFA corruption case. 

15-06-01-Paraguay-soccer 215-05-01-paraguay-2leoz

Eugenio Figueredo and Nicolas Leoz, ex-Conmebol presidents and FIFIA officials who were arrested

InSight Crime Analysis

Although former high-level Conmebol officials have already been indicted by the US government, Paraguay's immunity law has likely prevented prosecutors from obtaining further evidence of criminal activity within the soccer confederation. Despite the criminal charges leveled against Conmebol's former presidents, Paraguayan and US authorities have yet to gain access to other potentially incriminating documents held at the organization's headquarters, according to El Pais. If Paraguay were to repeal this law, this would quite likely impact any future investigation into other senior Conmebol officials -- such as Napout -- who are suspected of having received bribe money. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Soccer and Crime

The diplomatic immunity Conmebol has received for nearly two decades in Paraguay is illustrative of the legal gray area in which FIFA operates within host countries. Some experts have blamed this lack of government oversight and regulation for the apparent widespread corruption within the world's most powerful sports organization.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

EPP / 16 AUG 2015

Recent reports of attacks and threats by two non-state militias have shaken Paraguay, where authorities are already struggling to contain…

JALISCO CARTEL / 10 AUG 2017

The DEA has announced what it claims is the largest kingpin designation ever made against a Mexican drug trafficker…

EPP / 19 JAN 2018

Paraguay’s main guerrilla group has displaced hundreds of Mennonite families from an area not far from strategic drug trafficking…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.