Corrupt Brazilian Soccer Boss Sentenced in FIFA Probe

By David Brand

Queens Daily Eagle

Brazil’s former soccer federation chief was sentenced in Brooklyn federal court yesterday for his role in a sprawling FIFA bribery scandal.

José Maria Marin, 85, was convicted of wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy in December 2017. He was convicted of collecting millions of dollars in bribes from businesses looking to land media rights or influence World Cup hosting rights, NBC Sports reported.

He was first arrested in 2015 during a hotel raid in Zurich.

Though he never lived in the U.S., prosecutors argued that he should be tried in the Eastern District of New York because of his “regular use of the airports” within the federal district, which includes LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy Airport. Prosecutors also said he made several wire transfers through Long Island City, Brooklyn and Manhattan, The New York Times reported.

Prosecutors sought a 10-year sentence but Marin was sentenced to four years in federal prison.

 José Maria Marin, former president of Brazil’s soccer federation was sentenced in Brooklyn federal court yesterday. // Photo by Fúlvio

José Maria Marin, former president of Brazil’s soccer federation was sentenced in Brooklyn federal court yesterday. // Photo by Fúlvio

Former Paraguay soccer federation president Juan Angel Napout was convicted on the same racketeering charges. He has yet to be sentenced.

Last month, Imagina US — a subsidiary of a Barcelona-based media company called Imagina — pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy for attempting to bribe high-ranking officials of the Caribbean Football Union and four Central American national soccer federations. The company sliped officials from Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Honduras $6.5 million to secure media and marketing rights to their federations’ World Cup qualifier matches, according to the Department of Justice.

The company had to pay restitution to each federation.