Lausanne, Switzerland: Indicted by United States federal prosecutors in the FIFA bribery case, Brazilian football official Marco Polo del Nero got his life ban cut to 20 years by a Swiss court.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said their judges confirmed FIFA’s case against Del Nero “as to the findings on the merits” but ordered a reduced ban for taking bribes.
Del Nero will turn 97 before the ban expires in 2038, though he reportedly still has influence on running the Brazilian Football Confederation he once led.
Del Nero was on the FIFA executive committee when he fled Switzerland in May 2015 in the fallout of football officials being arrested at luxury hotels in Zurich in early morning raids requested by American investigators.
He was formally indicted six months later, resigned his $300,000-a-year FIFA position, and has since stayed in Brazil where he has avoided being extradited to the US.
American prosecutors allege he took millions of dollars in kickbacks from commercial deals signed for South America’s Copa America and Copa Libertadores and the domestic Brazil Cup.
FIFA ethics judges found him guilty in 2018 on charges of bribery and corruption, accepting gifts, and conflict of interest. He was also fined 1 million Swiss francs ($1 million).
Del Nero is among several Brazilian football leaders indicted in the American investigation and later banned by FIFA.
Jose Maria Marin was convicted of financial conspiracy charges in Brooklyn federal court in December 2017 and sentenced to four years.
During the trial, prosecution witness Jose Hawilla, an influential Brazilian sports marketing executive, testified Del Nero and Marin were among top South American football officials who had to be bribed to secure media contracts.
Marin, now 89, was released from prison in April 2020 on compassionate grounds soon after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared.
Ricardo Teixeira, who joined FIFA in the 1990s as the son-in-law of then-president Joao Havelange, has also avoided being extradited from Brazil since being indicted in 2015. Teixeira has also challenged his FIFA life ban at CAS.
Teixeira resigned from the FIFA executive committee in 2012 in the fallout from a World Cup kickbacks scandal that also removed Havelange as honorary president.
/ 6 months ago
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