By Samindra Kunti
August 3 – Brazil’s highest court the Federal Supreme Court, the STF, is to probe the corruption inquiry targeting CBF president Marco Polo Del Nero and his predecessors José Maria Marin and Ricardo Teixeira. José Hawilla, owner and founder of sports marketing agency Traffic, is also a defendant in the case.
In June the investigation was opened at 5th Federal Criminal Court of Rio de Janeiro, based on a report commissioned and signed by footballer-turned-senator Romario, who represents the Podemos political party, and Randolfe Rodrigues.
They are both part of the Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry (CPI) which began investigation corruption at the Brazilian FA (CBF) in 2015. The CPI also raised issues over irregularities in the Local Organizing Committee of the 2014 World Cup.
The judge of Rio’s 5th Federal Criminal Court Adriana Alves dos Santos Cruz declined jurisdiction as one of the suspects is a federal deputy, whose prerogative it is to stand trial at the STF. Marcus Vicente was a vice president at the CBF.
Del Nero, Teixeira and Marin are all suspected of having committed financial crimes in their various tenures as CBF president. They are accused on multiple counts, including tax evasion and money laundering.
Current CBF president Del Nero hasn’t left Brazil in months over fear of getting arrested abroad. He is the subject of a US indictment and international arrest warrant. Marin is under house arrest in New York on charges relating to FIFA corruption – his trial date is set for November. Last week Teixeira was accused of creating a “criminal organisation” by Spanish prosecutors.
The other defendants are former president of the Alagoas Football Federation Gustavo Dantas Feijó, former CBF financial director Antônio Osório Lopes da Costa, the lawyer Carlos Eugênio Lopes and the businessmen José Hawilla and Kleber Leite.
Hawilla built an empire of businesses, ranging from TV stations and to football agencies, but it all came crushing down with the DoJ’s investigation into football corruption.
He pleaded guilty to four corruption charges and forfeited $151 million that he made from lucrative TV rights contracts. Hawilla provided crucial evidence to the FBI that widened the US investigation.
With the net closing around the Brazil’s top football administrators, the criminal proceedings will be distributed to the Justices of the Supreme Court, where a justice rapporteur or minister will deal with the case. The STF has a notorious backlog of cases and delays in justice are not uncommon. This case likely has a long time to run.
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