Acquittal for Final Defendant in FIFA Trial

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(WFI) The former president of Peru’s soccer federation is acquitted of a corruption charge as the first U.S. trial involving the ongoing FIFA bribery scandal is finally completed.
Manuel Burga (Twitter/@burgafpf)

The jury reached its verdict on Tuesday after telling the judge on Friday it was deadlocked in the case against Manuel Burga. In the end, Burga was found not guilty of a single racketeering conspiracy charge.

During the trial, Burga allegedly made a throat slitting motion to a witness called by the prosecution. The incident almost caused the entire proceeding to be declared a mistrial.

The jury did return a number of verdicts on Friday before taking a break for the Christmas holiday in Brooklyn, New York. Former Brazilian Football Confederation President Jose Maria Marin and former Paraguayan Football Federation President Juan Angel Napout were found guilty on multiple counts. Napout was also at one time President of the South American Football Confederation.

Marin and Napout were found guilty on charges of wire fraud and racketeering regarding media rights for the Copa Libertadores and Copa America soccer tournaments. Marin was found guilty for additional charges stemming from wire fraud for media rights regarding the Brazil Cup annual tournament.

In total, Marin was found guilty on six of the seven charges brought against him, while Napout was convicted on three of five charges.

U.S. District Court Judge Pamela Chen had both men immediately jailed after the verdicts on Friday.

The convictions represent the first ones from a trial in the ongoing FIFA scandal that began in 2015. Swiss and U.S. authorities arrested a number of executives from the world soccer body ahead of the 2015 Congress.

The arrests led to the resignation of then-FIFA President Sepp Blatter and the creation of a number of reform committees. More than 20 executives pled guilty to U.S. authorities on bribery charges in order to avoid a trial.

By INSIDER Gerard Farek

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