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

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME / 26 AUG 2021

Despite its small size, Paraguay continues to shock Latin America with its extremely high levels of deforestation, outnumbering most of…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 25 FEB 2021

Alto Paraná is home to some of Paraguay’s most dynamic criminal economies. Contraband goods continue to flood Brazil and Argentina…

COCAINE / 26 FEB 2021

Paraguay has long been a key link in South America's drug trafficking chain, but has grown in importance with the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…