30 de octubre de 2015 / 23:45 / en 2 años

Peru probes head of soccer group on suspicion of role in murder

LIMA, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Peru’s attorney general office said on Friday it was investigating the president of the Peruvian Football Federation on suspicions he led a criminal gang that killed workers of his sugar company who sought higher wages.

The federation’s president, Edwin Oviedo, is being investigated for involvement of murder, conspiracy and illegal possession of weapons, the attorney general’s office said in a statement.

Oviedo has denied any wrongdoing.

A preliminary probe was launched Aug. 20 but had stopped after Oviedo lodged an appeal, which the attorney general’s office rejected on Thursday.

The union at Empresa Agroindustrial Tuman, a sugar company in northern Peru owned by Oviedo, has accused him of ordering hitmen to kill workers who took part in strikes demanding better pay and benefits.

Authorities have seized a load of weapons on the grounds of Tuman and arrested members of a criminal group called “Los Wachiturros” that include security personnel from the company.

The investigation in the attorney general’s office is based on intelligence and statements from informants, including “key witnesses” who said they had knowledge of a man killed in May.

Oviedo’s lawyer said the information prosecutors have based their inquiry on is false and intended to strip Oviedo of control of Tuman.

“Mr. Oviedo had no participation in those acts,” attorney Jose Carlos Isla said. “We’re convinced that Mr. Oviedo will be excluded from the investigation.”

Oviedo became president of the Peruvian Football Federation in January. The group is a member of CONMEBOL, South America’s soccer federation.

Scandal has engulfed FIFA since May when U.S. prosecutors indicted 14 soccer and marketing officials in a massive corruption inquiry.

The attorney general’s office did not mention anything related to soccer in its statement on the inquiry.

Isla said he did not expect the investigation to affect Oviedo’s role as head of the Peruvian Football Federation and said Oviedo was not considering resigning the post.

Reporting by Mitra Taj; Editing by Leslie Adler

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