Argentinean entrepreneur Alejandro Burzaco, sought by the US in the FIFA corruption probe, has turned himself in to Italian police. Burzaco allegedly conspired to win media rights to football games through bribery.
Burzaco showed up Tuesday with two lawyers at a police station in Bolzano, in northern Italy, local police officer Giuseppe Tricarico told the AP news agency.
Burzaco escaped the raids on May 27 when Swiss police arrested seven high-ranking FIFA officials over their alleged involvement in a large corruption scandal. He was reportedly eating breakfast in the Zurich hotel at the time of the arrests.
He was named on Interpol's most wanted list last Wednesday, along with five other men connected to the FIFA affair.
According to Tricarico, Burzaco is currently in jail pending a hearing later on Tuesday to confirm the arrest - a standard practice in Italian law.
Company denies involvement
The 50-year old Argentinean businessman was a president of Argentine sports communications company Torneos y Competencias, with particular focus on sports media. Burzaco, alongside Hugo and Mariano Jinkis, also from Argentina, is charged with paying millions of dollars to soccer officials in exchange for media and commercial rights to international football tournaments. The whereabouts of his two compatriots remains unclear.
Burzaco and the Jinkis' merged their companies to form part of Datisa, which obtained the exclusive worldwide rights to the 2015, 2019 and 2023 Copa America tournaments as well as the 2016 centenary edition of the South American championship, to be held in the US and to include extra teams from the Americas.
Torneos y Competencias has denied "any involvement by the firm or its president" in the alleged crime the US Department of Justice is investigating.
Following the arrests and investigations by the US and the Swiss authorities, FIFA President Sepp Blatter last week announced his intention to resign.
dj/msh (Reuters, AP, dpa)