Wanted Argentines ask to remain free

2015-06-12 11:25
(Ennio Leanza, AP)

Buenos Aires - Two Argentine businessmen wanted on US charges of bribing FIFA officials refuse to surrender and demand they be allowed to remain free while they fight extradition, their lawyers said Thursday.

Father and son marketing executives Hugo and Mariano Jinkis are in Argentina but are asking a federal court to allow them to remain free and will not hand themselves in unless they exhaust all legal options, said lawyers Jorge Anzorreguy and Francisco Castex.

The Jinkises, the owners of sports marketing company Full Play, are among the 14 football officials and marketing executives indicted by the United States in a sweeping investigation into corruption at the heart of world football's governing body.

They are among the last suspects still at large, along with Brazilian businessman Jose Margulies.

A fourth, Italian-Argentine businessman Alejandro Burzaco, handed himself in to police in Italy Tuesday and is under house arrest.

The Jinkises' lawyers said the two men, aged 70 and 40, should not be considered fugitives because they presented themselves to the authorities before an arrest warrant was issued.

"The arrest warrant only appeared eight hours later," Castex told journalists outside the federal court in Buenos Aires that is considering the Jinkises' petition.

A lower court has already rejected the petition, but the lawyers vowed to appeal all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Castex said the men do not pose a flight risk and want to be allowed to remain free as the Argentine courts rule whether to extradite them to the United States.

"There are abundant precedents indicating they have the right to remain free while awaiting the extradition process," he said.

Interpol last week placed the Jinkises and Margulies on its most wanted list, along with Burzaco and two former FIFA executives -- Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago, who is currently out on bail pending extradition hearings, and Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay, who is under house arrest.

The Jinkises' company, Full Play, held the TV rights to the South American World Cup qualifying matches and is accused of bribing FIFA officials for multi-million-dollar contracts.

They also co-owned another company involved in the case, Datisa, with Burzaco.

Read more on:    fifa  |  fifa bribery scandal  |  soccer

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