FIFA suspends judge Sundra Rajoo after corruption arrest

FIFA headquarters

FIFA ethics committee judge Sundra Rajoo has been suspended after being arrested over allegations of corruption in Malaysia.

Dr Rajoo, who was appointed deputy chairman of the FIFA independent Ethics Committee's Adjudicatory Chamber last year, was detained by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission after returning from FIFA business in Zurich on Tuesday night.

In a statement released on Wednesday, FIFA said that "Mr Rajoo will not be involved in any further activities" while the investigation was being carried out.

It did not give further details of the investigation or the accusations against Rajoo, who could not be immediately reached for comment.

Rajoo's 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 favours.

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

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.

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

FIFA's ethics committee was set up in 2012 and banned dozens of officials following a corruption scandal in 2015, which also included around 40 soccer officials being indicted in the United States.

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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