José Maria Marin, former President of the Brazilian Football Confederation, has been extradited to the United States to face corruption charges.
The 83-year-old, head of the Organising Committee for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, was one of seven officials arrested at Zurich’s Baur au Lac hotel in May as part of an ongoing investigation into corruption within world football’s governing body.
Marin is accused of taking bribes worth millions of dollars from sports marketing companies in connection with four Copa América tournaments and the Copa do Brasil from 2013 through to 2022.
If convicted on racketeering charges, he faces up to 20 years in prison.
Swiss authorities say he was handed over to two US police officers in Zurich who accompanied him on a flight to New York, where he pleaded not guilty in court.
Marin’s extradition to the US follows that of Julio Rocha, the former President of the Nicaraguan Football Federation, who was also among the seven FIFA officials arrested in Zurich.
Of the five other officials, former FIFA vice-president Jeffrey Webb of the Cayman Islands was the first to be extradited to face corruption charges in the US in July.
Swiss authorities have since approved the extradition requests for Uruguay’s Eugenio Figueredo, former Venezuelan Football Federation President Venezuelan Rafael Esquivel, Costa Rica’s Eduardo Li, and former secretary general of the Cayman Islands Football Association Costas Takkas.
In total, 14 football officials and sports marketing executives have been indicted by the US on alleged bribery, money laundering and wire fraud charges involving more than $150 million (£97 million/€137 million) in payments.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter was made the subject of a Swiss criminal investigation in September, but has always denied any wrongdoing.
The Swiss is currently serving a 90-day suspension handed out by the FIFA Ethics Committee after allegedly making a “disloyal” payment of CHF2 million (£1.3 million/$2 million/€1.8 million) to UEFA President Michel Platini, who was also suspended.
By Daniel Etchells
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, www.insidethegames.biz