December 19 – The jury in the FIFA-gate corruption trial of three former South American powerbrokers is set to resume deliberations today with a verdict imminent.
Brazil’s Jose Maria Marin, Peru’s Manuel Burga and Paraguay’s Juan Angel Napout – accused of conspiracy, money-laundering and misuse of United States banking facilities – have all pleaded not guilty. Their lawyers sought to discredit ‘star’ witnesses who testified arguing that they took bribes in exchange for lucrative broadcasting deals and would say whatever required to mitigate their sentences.
Burga’s lawyer pointed to the fact that his client had never accepted any bribe money while Marin, 85, was painted by his lawyers as an innocent bystander.
Reports in the US said the jury were weighing up whether the defendants, while enriching themselves at FIFA’s expense, broke any US laws since the alleged crimes were not carried out on US territory.
Prosecutors went through a lengthy demonstration of how the deal-making and money involved passed through the US and its banking system. Perhaps crucially, that culture was about to land in its entirety in the US with the originally organised hosting of the Copa Centenario 2016, before the US justice department made its arrests. While the competition eventually went ahead, it was with a reorganised executive structure and without the indicted officials.
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