Ex-FIFA Official Fights Insurance Claim Denial

     (CN) – A former FIFA executive says the soccer authority’s insurers did not defend him against bribery and corruption allegations made by the U.S. government.
     Federation Internationale de Football Association bought an insurance policy from Lloyd’s of London underwriters and AXIS Specialty Europe SE to protect its officers from claims against them, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday by Eduardo Li in Kings County, N.Y. Supreme Court.
     Li claims Lloyd’s and AXIS have refused to defend him or pay legal costs in connection with a May grand jury indictment and a request for extradition by the United States. The indictment accused Li and 13 others of participating in a 24-year racketeering scheme involving soccer broadcast kickbacks. The charges against Li include racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering.
     Li’s lawsuit says he “was a FIFA officer appointed to be a member of FIFA’s executive committee.” He was banned from soccer-related activities by an independent ethics committee in May, according to an article on FIFA’s website.
     The federal government submitted a request for Li’s extradition to the Swiss Federal Office of Justice in June, according to his lawsuit. His lawyers notified the insurers of the indictment and request for extradition in July but Li says they denied him coverage last month.
     Lloyd’s and AXIS cited a policy exclusion for claims for damages, according to Li. However, the former FIFA official says neither the indictment nor the extradition request is a damages claim and therefore the policy does not bar coverage.
     “Defendants continue to refuse to pay any of plaintiff’s costs, including defense and investigation costs, incurred in connection with the indictment and request for extradition,” the complaint states. “Defendants have breached their duties and obligations under the policy by refusing to pay the amounts due thereunder.”
     Li accuses Lloyd’s and AXIS of breach of contract, for which he seeks an unspecified amount of damages. He is represented by Robin Cohen of Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP in New York City.

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