July 21 – In the same month that disgraced former Conmebol president Juan Angel Napout petitioned court in the US to obtain an early release from prison because of the coronavirus pandemic, he has himself contracted the disease.
Napout’s lawyer Jose Gonzalez confirmed his client had caught the virus in prison where he is serving nine years for his role in the FIFAGate scandal.
“He could barely speak when his wife called him. His throat was very sore,” Gonzalez told a radio station. “He’s diabetic, suffers from hypertension and is very stressed. Having contracted COVID is dangerous for his health.”
Napout, 62, was sentenced in 2017 after being convicted of racketeering and wire fraud over the awarding of television and marketing rights in exchange for kickbacks.
The latest news comes just over a week after a federal judge in New York rejected for the second time a request from Napout to be released to house arrest on compassionate grounds.
His representatives argue that the new lockdown rules for the prison population have led to harsher conditions. They say 70 inmates in the Miami prison where he is being held have also contracted Covid-19, as well as seven members of staff. He is apparently allowed to leave his cell only 100 minutes a week instead of the previous14 hours a week.
Gonzalez said Napout would now apply to be transferred to his native Paraguay to serve the rest of his sentence, the longest so far of any of the 45 people and entities accused in the scandal that brought FIFA to its knees.
The former FIFA vice-president and one-time head of the Paraguayan FA was also fined $1 million and ordered to repay $3.3 million in bribes he received.
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