Former South American official jailed for nine years


Former South American official jailed for nine years skynews napout fifa 4405201

The former head of South America’s footballing body has been sentenced to nine years in prison for his part in the FIFA bribery scandal.

Juan Angel Napout, from Paraguay, was sentenced in New York after he was convicted last year of racketeering and other charges related to a corruption scandal which shook the international governing body.

Prosecutors had asked the judge to sentence the Paraguayan official to 20 years for taking millions of dollars in bribes from firms seeking marketing rights to major tournaments.

But Napout’s lawyers argued the prosecution exaggerated his role in the scheme and said he deserved far less time in jail.

As well as time in prison, the former South American Football Confederatio (CONMEBOL) president was ordered to pay more than $4.3m (£3.3m) in financial penalties, according to a statement from the office of US attorney Richard Donoghue.

Mr Donoghue said: “Napout’s conviction, as well as the successful prosecution of other high-level soccer officials, has struck at the core of corruption in soccer and underscores the need for continued vigilance against fraud and bribery in the sport.”

Representing Napout, lawyer Silvia Pinera-Vazquez said: “Of course we are disappointed with the nine-year sentence and plan to appeal both the verdict and sentence.”

The 60-year-old had previously served as head of the national football federation in Paraguay before leading CONMEBOL.

He was tried alongside Jose Maria Marin, who once led the Brazilian footballing body. Marin was convicted last week and jailed for four years.

Prosecutors said the pair each took millions of dollars in bribes.

A third defendant, Manuel Burga – a former Peruvian football official – was cleared of all charges.

The three men are the only so far to go on trial out of more than 40 people and bodies charged by US prosecutors since 2015 in connection with the FIFA corruption scandal.

At least 24 have pleaded guilty.

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