Wednesday, 27 December 2017

FIFA Trial: New York Jury Acquits Ex-Peru's Football Boss

Twenty-four of the 42 individuals indicted in May 2015 have cut deals in return for guilty pleas — two of whom have already been sentenced by Chen, while another 15 remain in their own countries.
A US jury acquitted a "thrilled" Peruvian former football boss at a FIFA corruption trial on Tuesday, allowing him to get home while two convicted co-defendants await sentencing from behind bars.

The panel cleared 60-year-old Manuel Burga, a former head of Peru's football federation and former FIFA development committee member, on one count of racketeering conspiracy on the seventh day of deliberations in New York.

The jury returned the verdict following the Christmas holiday after convicting Jose Maria Marin, former head of Brazil's Football Confederation and Juan Angel Napout, former head of Paraguayan football on Friday.

They were previously deadlocked on Burga.

The Peruvian was arrested in 2015, when the United States unveiled the largest graft scandal in world soccer, indicting 42 officials and marketing executives, as well as the sports company Traffic, with corruption crimes totaling more than US$200 million (N71 billion).

But more than two and a half years later, a bribery trial opened in a Brooklyn federal court with only three defendants in the dock — one of whom now walks free.

While the extraordinary trial exposed systemic corruption at the heart of the football, US federal prosecutors' case against Burga was considered weak. Prosecutors themselves conceded that he never received bribery money, despite contending he agreed to.

His lawyer said Burga would now fly out of the United States on Tuesday and be reunited with his family in Lima, Peru on Wednesday.

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