FIFA Scandal: Trial Begins for 3 Former Football Chiefs
Three former South American soccer officials faced a judge in a New York courtroom on Monday over accusations related to the FIFA corruption scandal, The Guardian reported.
The charges on the three high-profile figures included racketeering and bribery over TV rights to the Copa America and Copa Libertadores football tournaments.
All three suspects - former president of the Brazil Football Association (CBF) Jose Maria Marin, former Paraguayan president of the South America football confederation (Conmebol) Juan Angel Napout and former president of the Peruvian Football Association Manuel Burga – denied the allegations.
Marin was among the seven high-level FIFA officials arrested in a raid of a luxury Zurich hotel in May 2015, at the start of the FIFA corruption investigation.
In December 2015, Napout was arrested in another raid of a Zurich hotel. Burga was arrested in the same month at his home in Lima, Peru.
US prosecutors indicted 42 people and entities for allegedly receiving millions of dollars in bribes.
Out of the 42 indicted, 23 former football administrators and marketing executives have pleaded guilty to corruption charges, including former president of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Football Associations (CONCACAF) Jeffrey Webb and Alfredo Hawit, a Honduran lawyer who took a $250,000 bribe when he was an interim president of CONCACAF.
Marin, Napout and Burga are the first and only figures on trial since the US probe was announced in May 2015.
“After waiting two years, Mr. Napout looks forward to his day in court,” said Napout’s lawyer, Silvia Pinera-Vazquez, according to Reuters.