A Bolivian judge has ordered the president of the country’s football federation to be held in one of Latin America’s most violent prisons to prevent him from fleeing ahead of a trial over corruption charges, according to local media reports.
Carlos Chavez, who is also the treasurer of the South American Football Confederation, CONMEBOL, denies the charges.
Chavez was arrested on Friday over allegations that he diverted funds from a charity match.
The family of a fan, Kevin Beltran, who was killed by fireworks at an international match in the Bolivian city of Oruro in 2013, told Bolivian state news agency ABI they never received any money from a charity fund set up for him.
Ahead of his transfer scheduled for Wednesday to the Palmasola high-security prison in Santa Cruz, Chavez was being held by authorities in Sucre alongside Alberto Lozada, the secretary-general of the Bolivian Soccer Federation.
Lozada will be placed under house arrest.
Guards secure only the perimeter of the sprawling, maximum-security jail at Palmasola, while murderers and drug traffickers run its units, charging inmates for all aspects of their existence.
Chavez intends to appeal the judge’s decision to imprison him ahead of trial.
“I am to be held in Palmasola for preventive detention. This decision will be appealed by the 72-hour deadline. But this embarrassment (referring to his arrest) and trickery will be revealed as what I said a month and a half back; this is obviously a coup,” the Reuters news agency in Sucre reported him as saying.
Ramiro Guerrero, the Bolivian attorney general, has said more than 40 people had testified so far in the course of the investigation, which began on June 1.
“This is a proceeding that makes no attack on the Bolivian soccer federation as a whole, which has the mission, according to its statutes, to promote the practice of soccer. Neither the public ministry nor the judicial ministry is intervening in matters directly relating to soccer,” said Bolivian prosecutor Ivan Montellano.
The charges make no reference to the bribery scandal affecting FIFA, soccer’s international governing body.
However, Guerrero has not ruled out broadening the investigation.