efe-epaSantiago

Almost $130 million was embezzled or diverted in suspicious operations from Conmebol accounts between 2000 and 2015, when Paraguay's Nicolas Leoz and Uruguay's Eugenio Figueredo headed the organization, according to the results of an audit released Wednesday in this capital.

The investigation, carried out by a consulting firm and a law office, revealed the existence of direct bank transfers amounting to $26.9 million from Conmebol to the accounts of Leoz, who helmed the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) from 1986-2013.

Also uncovered by auditors were unidentified payments for $33.3 million between 2000 and 2004, one of them for $28 million to a Cayman Islands account.

In addition, transfers to third parties without any accompanying documentation for $58 million were found, Judge Daniel Mendonca, who summarized the audit's contents, said.

The internal investigation also found payment orders for $10.4 million to companies specializing in marketing and selling television rights for soccer championships and which are being investigated by US courts within the framework of the corruption probe into FIFA, soccer's international governing body.

Leoz and Figueredo, the latter of whom headed Conmebol in 2013 and 2014, are facing charges in the FIFA corruption cases and are awaiting trial in the United States, as are several other former South American soccer federation chiefs.

The audit results were released within the framework of an extraordinary meeting being held at the 67th regular Conmebol conference in Santiago with FIFA president Gianni Infantino in attendance.

The audit was ordered more than a year ago by current Conmebol president Alejandro Dominguez and contracted with international consulting firm Ernst & Young and the Quinn Emanuel law firm

More than two million documents focusing on the 2011-2015 period were examined during the course of the audit, said attorney William Burk, with the law firm representing Conmebol.