By Owolabi Abiola/First Zeal Media
A former president of Brazil’s soccer federation was sentenced on Wednesday by a U.S. judge to four years in prison after being convicted on corruption charges related to the bribery scandal at FIFA, the sport’s governing body.
Jose Maria Marin, 86, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen in Brooklyn, New York. He was also fined $1.2 million and ordered to forfeit $3.34 million.
Marin, the former head of Confederação Brasileira de Futebol (CBF), was convicted on Dec. 22 by a federal jury on six conspiracy counts, including to commit racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering.
He was among the first to stand trial over what U.S. prosecutors called a sprawling scheme involving payments of more than $200 million of bribes and kickbacks in exchange for marketing and broadcast rights for soccer matches. Prosecutors said Marin received several million dollars in bribes.
“We are disappointed in the length of the sentence but appreciate the judge’s efforts to strike a fair balance,” Marin’s lawyer Charles Stillman, said in an email. “Mr. Marin will pursue an appeal.”
Prosecutors had sought a minimum 10-year prison term, less 13 months that Marin has already spent in custody.
Defense lawyers said Marin’s age and health meant he should be sentenced to time served, court papers showed.
CBF declined to comment.
At least 42 individuals and entities have been charged in the FIFA probe, and many have pleaded guilty.
Juan Angel Napout of Paraguay, a former head of South America’s soccer governing body CONMEBOL, was a co-defendant at Marin’s trial and was also convicted. His sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 29, court records showed.
The third defendant at the trial, former Peruvian soccer official Manuel Burga, was acquitted.