FIFA ethics judge arrested in Malaysia in corruption case

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A FIFA ethics committee judge was arrested in Malaysia on suspicion of corruption and resigned on Wednesday as director of an arbitration service.

Sundra Rajoo’s lawyer told The Associated Press his client had been detained by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission after returning from FIFA business in Zurich the previous evening.

The lawyer, Cheow Wee, said a court refused a request for a seven-day remand order against Rajoo, and that he was later released unconditionally.

“The judge agreed with our position that he (Rajoo) has diplomatic immunity and privileges,” Cheow said. “He cannot be arrested nor detained, and isn’t subjected to our criminal jurisdiction.”

The lawyer said the MACC sought Rajoo’s remand to protect and continue its investigation into allegations the ethics judge accepted and used his office for financial favors.

Rajoo resigned from his position with the Asian International Arbitration Centre on Wednesday, Cheow said.

FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Rajoo’s status within the world soccer body’s judicial system.

The MACC could not immediately be reached for comment.

Rajoo was appointed last year as one of two deputy chairmen of the FIFA ethics committee’s adjudicatory chamber.

Since Rajoo joined FIFA, ethics judges have passed several life bans on soccer officials implicated in bribery by a sprawling US Department of Justice investigation.

Rajoo was proposed for the post by the Asian Football Confederation in a widespread change of personnel within the ethics committee.

In May 2017, FIFA President Gianni Infantino oversaw the removal of the previous chairmen of the investigation and judging panels. At that time, the head of FIFA’s governance oversight also had his position taken.

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