Rafael Callejas, a former president of Honduras who was ensnared in an worldwide soccer scandal and convicted in the United States of getting bribes whilst president of his nation’s soccer federation, died on April 4 in Atlanta. He was 76.
The bring about was difficulties of acute myeloid leukemia, his lawyer, Manuel J. Retureta, claimed. He experienced been residing in Atlanta although awaiting sentencing and remaining taken care of for his illness, Mr. Retureta claimed.
Mr. Callejas, a member of Honduras’s conservative Nationwide Celebration, served as the nation’s president from 1990 to 1994, a time of pronounced financial issues in Central America. He was the very first opposition prospect in Honduras to consider energy through a peaceful vote in 57 a long time.
He later spent additional than a dozen a long time top the Honduran soccer federation, recognised as Fenafuth. He stepped down in 2015, when the U.S. Justice Section introduced a sweeping corruption scenario centered on soccer officers and athletics promoting executives all around the entire world. Mr. Callejas was charged alongside with dozens of other men, which include his best deputy at Fenafuth.
At the time of his indictment, Mr. Callejas belonged to the tv and advertising committee of FIFA, soccer’s intercontinental governing system, which is headquartered in Switzerland.
Not like numerous defendants in the situation who for a long time hardly ever answered the corruption costs versus them — with some adult males dying in their residence countries although preventing extradition to the United States — Mr. Callejas surrendered to authorities quickly after he was charged. He pleaded guilty around a few months afterwards.
“I abused my posture of have confidence in and authority,” he claimed in Federal District Courtroom in Brooklyn in March 2016, pleading guilty to wire fraud conspiracy and racketeering conspiracy, every single of which carried up to 20 yrs in jail. He was the 16th defendant convicted in the case, which was continue to active at the time of his death.
Mr. Callejas admitted he experienced solicited and recognized bribes from businessmen searching for media and promoting rights to matches played by the Honduran countrywide crew. He mentioned he had compensated a lot of that bribe cash to delegates of his country’s soccer federation to be certain his re-election.
While he famous that he had been exterior the United States while participating in the illegal exercise, he acknowledged that American banking institutions experienced been central to the techniques — a key aspect in the Justice Department’s case.
In December 2016, FIFA banned Mr. Callejas from functioning in organized soccer.
As part of his responsible plea, Mr. Callejas agreed to forfeit $650,000 to the United States. His long-deferred sentencing was scheduled for May well 11.
Rafael Leonardo Callejas Romero was born on Nov. 14, 1943, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to Rafael Callejas Valentine and Emma Romero Sevilla.
He researched agricultural economics at the University of Mississippi, the place he attained a Bachelor of Science degree in 1965 and master’s diploma with a thesis on hog output opportunities in the point out.
He went on to provide in an array of authorities positions in Honduras, such as minister of agriculture and normal sources.
Survivors consist of his wife, Norma Regina Gaborit de Callejas five little ones, Rafael Leonardo, Lastenia, Adriana, Alberto and Irene 14 grandchildren and three sisters, Emelisa, Cecilia and Lidia Carolina.
Mr. Callejas ran for president in 1985 and however he obtained a plurality of the vote, he conceded to the leading applicant from Honduras’ Liberal Get together for the reason that various customers of it experienced received a larger selection of votes blended. Four years later on, Mr. Callejas narrowly won the election outright.
When he took workplace, Honduras experienced enormous foreign personal debt, and its neighbors, El Salvador and Nicaragua, were being engaged in civil wars. “In this violent Central The united states, where the youth of our neighbors is spilling its blood, the people of Honduras have provided a Yes to peace and a No to blood,” Mr. Callejas reported at an election victory social gathering.
Vice President Dan Quayle attended his inauguration in 1990, and President George H.W. Bush known as Mr. Callejas “a longtime mate of the United States” in a joint overall look at the White Home that calendar year.
Unrelated to his function in intercontinental soccer and properly just before the American situation against him, Mr. Callejas was accused in Honduras of misappropriating govt resources. He was acquitted of individuals costs.