Football: Former head of Brazil confederation pleads not guilty in US court

Former Brazilian Football Confederation president Jose Maria Marin, exits the Eastern District of New York US Courthouse.
Former Brazilian Football Confederation president Jose Maria Marin, exits the Eastern District of New York US Courthouse.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Former Brazilian Football Confederation president Jose Maria Marin pleaded not guilty in a United States court on Tuesday in connection with the massive Fifa corruption scandal and agreed to a US$15 million (S$21 million) bond.

He stands accused of having taken bribes worth millions of dollars from sports marketing companies in connection with the sale of rights for the Copa America tournaments for 2015, 2016, 2019 and 2023, and for the Copa do Brasil for the period from 2013 to 2022.

He appeared in a US federal court in Brooklyn, where District Judge Raymond Dearie set Dec 16 for his next appearance.

The Fifa scandal, in which US authorities accuse officials of soliciting and receiving more than US$150 million bribes and kickbacks over two decades, has scandalised world soccer.

The United States has charged 14 Fifa officials and sports marketing executives, but Marin's arrival brings to only four the number in the jurisdiction of New York.

Swiss prosecutors said last week that Marin had agreed to be extradited. He was handed over to two US police officers in Zurich on Tuesday, who accompanied him on the flight, Swiss authorities said.

The 83-year-old Brazilian was arrested by Swiss police in Zurich with six other Fifa officials on May 27 at the request of the US.

The charges rocked regional groups in North and South America. Marin is alleged to have shared bribes from Copa America with other football officials.

Attorneys had originally opposed Marin's extradition.

Like Marin, former Fifa vice-president Jeffrey Webb also agreed to extradition to the US. He was handed over to the US authorities on July 15.

Five other officials arrested in May are still opposing extradition.