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US confirms Del Nero still under investigation as FBI digs deeper into South American leads

Marco Polo del Nero

June 18 – The US Justice Department has confirmed that Brazilian football federation (CBF) president Marco Polo Del Nero is still under investigation for bribery in 2014, but Del Nero has not yet been formally charged. 

In December 2015 the US Department of Justice named Del Nero in a 92-count superseding indictment (to the initial indictment of May 2015 that led to arrest of seven FIFA officials in Zurich) in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, “charging an additional 16 defendants with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies, among other offenses, in connection with their participation in a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer.  “

The new defendants in that indictment included Ricardo Teixeira as well as Del Nero, the former and current presidents of the CBF, both of whom are also former members of the FIFA Executive Committee,

Del Nero took command of the CBF when Brazil hosted the World Cup. He succeeded Jose Maria Marin, who was banned by FIFA’s ethics committee and arrested in May 2015 in the US DoJ’s first assault on the FIFA hierarchy. He is under house arrest in the USA and awaits sentencing.

The name of the current CBF president has now resurfaced with Marin and Ricardo Texeira mentioned alongside him. Texeira is believed to be in discussion with the US authorities on a plea bargain, hence igniting further speculation that Del Nero’s investigation is deepening with new material being provided by Texeira.

The Del Nero investigation centres on the potential bribery of dozens of CONMEBOL officials in relation to the sales of Copa America TV rights, a part of those payments were funneled through Swiss bank accounts. The payments concern “tens of millions of dollars of bribes”.

“At various moments, Marin, Del Nero and Teixeira and others asked and received for bribes in return for support [for the broadcast rights of the Copa Libertadores],” reads the DoJ document.

Del Nero remains the de facto president of the CBF. He is also under investigation from Brazilian authorities. Having fled Switzerland at the time of the first arrests prior to the FIFA Congress in May 2015, he has stayed in Brazil, not travelling with the Brazilian national team to international matches out of fear he may get arrested.

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