The former president of Brazil’s soccer federation was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to pay millions of dollars in fines and restitution on Wednesday by a federal judge in New York who called him a “cancer” on the sport.
The official, José Maria Marin, was one of more than 40 individuals and companies charged in a broad corruption case that burst into public view with a series of arrests during a gathering of top officials of FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, in Zurich in 2015. Nearly all the defendants, which include several of FIFA’s top leaders, were accused of soliciting, paying or accepting bribes in exchange for valuable television and marketing rights.
Unlike many of the defendants — more than 20 have pleaded guilty — Mr. Marin chose to fight the charges that he had accepted $6.55 million. Tried with two other defendants in December, Mr. Marin was found guilty on six counts of racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy. He was found not guilty on one count of money laundering conspiracy.
At his sentencing on Wednesday, he was ordered to pay a fine of $1.2 million and to forfeit more than $3.3 million. While he was sentenced to four years in prison, he most likely will serve much less time: The court agreed to give him credit for five months served in Switzerland while awaiting his extradition to the United States and for eight more he spent in jail following his conviction.
“Mr. Marin says he loves the sport,” Judge Pamela K. Chen said during the sentencing hearing in federal court in Brooklyn, “yet he and his co-conspirators were the very cancer on the sport he claims to love.”
“His crime was one of pure and unmitigated and unchecked greed,” she added, stressing that she wanted to “send a message of deterrence” with her sentence.
United States prosecutors had sought 10 years in prison and $6.6 million in financial penalties for the 86-year-old Mr. Marin. His lawyers, citing his age, had asked for a sentence of only the 13 months he had already served.
Mr. Marin, who had cut an elegant figure during his seven-week trial last year, appeared diminished on Wednesday, according to news reports. Wearing a beige prison uniform, he cried as he asked to retain some of his fortune.
“My wife and family’s inheritance,” he sobbed. “Do not take away their means to survive.”
A second official convicted with Mr. Marin last year, Juan Angel Napout of Paraguay, the former head of South America’s soccer governing body, Conmebol, is scheduled to be sentenced next week.
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