Two officials convicted at FIFA trial; third awaits verdict

December 23, 2017
Juan Angel Napout (left), Manuel Burga (centre), and Jose Maria Marin.

NEW YORK (AP):

Two former South American football officials were convicted yesterday of corruption charges at a US trial stemming from the FIFA bribery scandal, while deliberations will continue next week for a third official.

A federal jury in New York deliberated a week before reaching the partial verdict.

Jose Maria Marin, of Brazil, and Juan Angel Napout, of Paraguay, were convicted of the top count they faced, racketeering conspiracy. Jurors were undecided on Manuel Burga, the former president of Peru's football federation.

The three had been arrested in 2015. Prosecutors accused them of agreeing to take millions of dollars in bribes from businessmen seeking to lock up lucrative media rights or influence hosting rights for the World Cup and other major tournaments controlled by FIFA.

Marin, the former president of Brazil's football federation, and Napout, formerly president of Paraguay's football federation and of the South American football governing body CONMEBOL, also were convicted of other charges. Both were acquitted of some lesser counts.

 

ODD TWISTS

 

The trial ended up being coloured by odd twists: an unproven accusation that Burga threatened a witness; a juror booted for sleeping through testimony; word from Buenos Aires that an Argentine lawyer had committed suicide there hours after being named at the trial as a bribe-taker; and the surprise testimony of a former member of the Jonas Brothers, an American boy band.

Marin, Burga and Napout were among more than 40 people in the world of global football who faced criminal charges in the US in connection with what prosecutors said were schemes involving hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks. Many of the other defendants pleaded guilty.

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