Monday, October 26, 2020

Former Brazilian soccer chief jailed for corruption released due to coronavirus

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The former Brazilian soccer chief convicted in the sport’s global bribery scandal became one of the highest-profile prisoners to win release amid the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen in Brooklyn on Monday granted the release of Jose Maria Marin, 87, former president of the Brazilian Football Confederation, from federal prison camp in Allenwood, Pennsylvania.

On Sunday his lawyers had made an emergency request for his release, apparently citing the virus, his medical history and his advanced age.

While the basis of Marin’s request was filed under seal, it came amid news reports that at least one inmate who was transferred to the adjacent, maximum-security penitentiary at the Allenwood site has tested positive for the virus.

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In granting the request for an early reduced sentence, Chen cited Marin’s age, “significantly deteriorating health” and “elevated risk of dire health consequences due to the current COVID-19 outbreak,” his status as a nonviolent offender and that he has served much of his four-year term.

He was immediately remanded into custody when a federal jury found him guilty in December 2017. The court also ordered him to forfeit $3.3 million and imposed a fine of $1.2 million.

In a rare move, prosecutors consented to Marin’s immediate release on the reduced sentence.

Trial evidence showed Marin once led a life of luxury. After he pocketed at least $3 million in bribes from sports marketing executives, he embarked on shopping sprees that included dropping $50,000 at Bulgari in Las Vegas and more than $10,000 at Chanel in New York.

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The case is U.S. v. Webb, 15-cr-252, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

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