MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, January 23rd 2018 - 03:45 UTC

Brazil and Paraguay soccer executives sentenced in US on corruption charges

Saturday, December 23rd 2017 - 10:37 UTC
Full article 1 comment
Marin, who is also a former governor of São Paulo, was found guilty of six of the seven counts against him of money laundering and wire fraud conspiracy. Marin, who is also a former governor of São Paulo, was found guilty of six of the seven counts against him of money laundering and wire fraud conspiracy.
Last month, Argentine former football official Jorge Delhon killed himself after being accused of taking US$2m in bribes as part of the trial Last month, Argentine former football official Jorge Delhon killed himself after being accused of taking US$2m in bribes as part of the trial
Napout (Right), who headed the Paraguayan football body as well as the regional one, was found guilty of three charges: racketeering conspiracy and two wire fraud charges. Napout (Right), who headed the Paraguayan football body as well as the regional one, was found guilty of three charges: racketeering conspiracy and two wire fraud charges.

Two former top South American football executives have been found guilty of multiple charges at a US trial into corruption in the sport: Jose Maria Marin, the former head of Brazil's Football Confederation (CBF), and Paraguay's Juan Ángel Napout, who led South America's football governing body Conmebol, were convicted on Friday.

 The men were arrested in 2015. The jury in New York are still deciding the verdict in a charge against the former head of Peru's federation. They will reconvene after Christmas to make a decision in the racketeering charge against Manuel Burga.

Marin, who is also a former governor of São Paulo, was found guilty of six of the seven counts against him of money laundering and wire fraud conspiracy.

Napout, who headed the Paraguayan football body as well as the regional one, was found guilty of three charges - one of racketeering conspiracy and two wire fraud charges.

The investigation focuses on corruption around the awarding of media and marketing rights for major sporting competitions, including the Copa America. Prosecutors have said the crimes amount to an estimated US$200m.

Last month, Argentine former football official Jorge Delhon killed himself after being accused of taking US$2m in bribes as part of the trial.

Following Friday's verdicts, football's world governing body Fifa said it “strongly supports and encourages the US authorities' efforts to hold accountable those individuals who abused their positions and corrupted international football for their own personal benefit”.

The US investigation into corruption at Fifa was first revealed in May 2015. Federal prosecutors in New York have indicted more than 40 sports and football executives linked to football in the Americas as part of the inquiry.

In October the former head of Guatemala's federation, Héctor Trujillo became the first person to be sentenced as part of the investigation. Trujillo was sentenced to eight months in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy.

Another official, Costas Takkas, ex general secretary of the Cayman Islands Football Association, was sentenced to 15 months in prison by a US judge shortly after by a US judge shortly after.

It must also be mentioned that the only president of a South American football association that was not investigated or indicted was Uruguay's ex Football Association, AUF, Sebastián Bauzá. This despite the fact that another Uruguayan, FIFA vice president, Victor Figueredo accused him before a Uruguayan court of having paid him a US$ 400.000 bribe.

Figueredo was convicted in the United States but later transferred to Uruguay given his age and promise of returning much of the corruption money, plus the fact the US Justice system has confidence in their Uruguayan counterpart.

However Bauzá was forced to resign from AUF by ex president Jose Mujica, a good friend of all those Uruguayans mentioned in the FIFA investigation by the FBI. Mujica ordered the Home Secretary not to provide security forces to help keep order in the official football matches, alleging the clubs had to contract their own security staff.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
Read all comments

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!