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Juan Ángel Napout Barreto is a Paraguayan football executive and businessman. He was head of the Paraguayan Football Association from 2007 to 2014

 

USA DOJ ANNOUNCEMENT: Former FIFA Executive, President of CONMEBOL and Paraguayan Soccer Official Sentenced to Nine Years in Prison for Racketeering and Corruption Offenses

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of New York

Juan Ángel Napout also Ordered to Forfeit $3.3 Million in Bribe Receipts and Fined $1 Million

Juan Ángel Napout, a high-level figure in international soccer, was sentenced today in federal court in Brooklyn by United States District Judge Pamela K. Chen to nine years’ imprisonment following his trial convictions of conspiratorial racketeering and two counts of wire fraud conspiracy.  The crimes of conviction related to Napout’s participation in schemes to accept millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for the media and marketing rights to various soccer tournaments.  The Court also ordered Napout to pay $3,374,025.88 in forfeiture and imposed a fine of $1 million.  A hearing on victim restitution is scheduled for October 4, 2018.

At the time of his arrest in December 2015, Napout was the president of CONMEBOL, the confederation responsible for soccer in South America, a FIFA Vice President and a member of the FIFA Executive Committee.  He had previously served as the president of the Paraguayan Soccer Federation, known as the Asociación Paraguaya de Fútbol, or APF.  Napout was convicted following a six-week trial in November and December of 2017.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and R. Damon Rowe, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, Los Angeles Field Office (IRS CI), announced the sentence.

“Napout rose to the highest ranks of soccer, holding FIFA executive positions and running a powerful continental confederation, only to turn his back on the institutions and people he was entrusted to serve,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  “For years, Napout fed his greed, joining and furthering a rampant and deep-rooted culture of corruption in the sport.  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.”  Mr. Donoghue expressed his grateful appreciation to the governments of Switzerland, Brazil and Paraguay for their significant assistance in this case.  Mr. Donoghue also thanked the Office of International Affairs and the Organized Crime and Gang Section of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division in Washington, D.C., for their assistance in this prosecution.

“Soccer officials spent years gleefully pocketing money handed to them by companies and agencies hoping to further their own agendas, and they did it thinking no one was looking,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.  “Now Mr. Napout, and other co-conspirators, are paying for their crimes in federal prisons, and the money they took must be repaid. Each investigation the FBI New York and our law enforcement partners brings to an end, we hope will restore a little piece of the game stolen by greed and arrogance.”

“Juan Ángel Napout abused his position of trust and authority in the world of soccer and allowed his appetite for money to lead him into a life of crime,” said IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Rowe.  “Soccer fans worldwide will be delighted to see their game cleansed of the exploitation that has marred it for years.”

As proved at trial, FIFA and its six continental confederations, together with affiliated regional federations, national member associations and sports marketing companies, constitute an enterprise of legal entities associated in fact for purposes of the federal racketeering laws.  The principal, and entirely legitimate, purpose of the enterprise is to regulate and promote the sport of soccer worldwide.  The enterprise financed its efforts in significant part by commercializing the media and marketing rights associated with various soccer events and tournaments, often through the sale of multi-year contracts covering multiple editions of the tournaments.

Evidence presented at trial, publicly filed documents and statements made in court established that Napout and his co-conspirators engaged in a conspiracy to corrupt the enterprise through racketeering activity.  Specifically, Napout and his co-conspirators corrupted the FIFA enterprise through the offer and receipt of tens of millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks paid by sports marketing companies to soccer officials in exchange for the media and marketing rights to: (a) multiple editions of the CONMEBOL-sponsored Copa América soccer tournament played periodically by South American national teams, including the Copa América Centenario, a special edition of the tournament played in the United States in 2016; (b) multiple editions of the CONMEBOL-sponsored Copa Libertadores soccer tournament played annually by South American club teams and (c) two cycles of World Cup qualifying matches played by the Paraguayan national team and administered by the APF.

The government’s investigation is ongoing.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s FIFA Task Force.  Assistant United States Attorneys Samuel P. Nitze, M. Kristin Mace and Keith D. Edelman are in charge of the trial prosecution, with assistance from Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kaitlin T. Farrell and Brian D. Morris.

The Defendant:

JUAN ÁNGEL NAPOUT
Age: 60
Citizenship: Paraguay

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 15-CR-252 (S-2) (PKC)

BACKGROUND: High-Ranking Soccer Officials Convicted in Multi-Million Dollar Bribery Schemes

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney’s Office

Eastern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, December 26, 2017
https://www.justice.gov/usao-edny/pr/high-ranking-soccer-officials-convicted-multi-million-dollar-bribery-schemes

 

Juan Ángel Napout and José Maria Marin Convicted of Racketeering Conspiracy and Related Offenses

On Friday, former high-ranking soccer officials Juan Ángel Napout and José Maria Marin were convicted of racketeering conspiracy and related crimes by a federal jury in Brooklyn.  The crimes of conviction related to the defendants’ participation in schemes to accept millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for the media and marketing rights to various soccer tournaments.  In addition to racketeering conspiracy, Napout was also convicted of two counts of wire fraud conspiracy, and Marin was convicted of three counts of wire fraud conspiracy and two counts of money laundering conspiracy.  Today, the jury found the defendant Manuel Burga, former president of the Peruvian soccer federation, not guilty of racketeering conspiracy, the one count on which he was extradited from Peru.[1]  After the jury rendered its verdict, which followed a six-week trial before United States District Judge Pamela K. Chen, Judge Chen remanded Napout and Marin into custody.

 

At the time of his arrest in December 2015, Napout was the president of the South American soccer confederation, known as CONMEBOL, a member of the FIFA Executive Committee, and a FIFA Vice President.  He had also previously served as president of the Paraguayan soccer federation.  At the time of his arrest in May 2015, Marin was the former head of the Brazilian soccer federation, known as the CBF, and a member of various FIFA standing committees.  As proved at trial, the defendants and their co-conspirators accepted or agreed to accept tens of millions of dollars in bribe payments over the course of the conspiracy.

 

The guilty verdicts were announced by Bridget M. Rohde, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and R. Damon Rowe, Special-Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, Los Angeles Field Office (IRS).

 

“As the jury found, defendants Napout and Marin lined their own pockets with millions of dollars in bribes at the expense of the soccer organizations they represented and the people those organizations served,” said  Acting United States Attorney Rohde.  “Now these defendants have been brought to justice, like the others who have been convicted for corrupting a sport beloved across the world, and will face punishment for their criminal conduct.  The guilty verdicts and the evidence at trial highlight the extent of the corruption and the continuing need for reform.”  Ms. Rohde expressed her grateful appreciation to governments around the world, particularly the governments of Switzerland, Brazil, Peru, and Paraguay for their significant assistance in this case.  Ms. Rohde also thanked the Office of International Affairs and the Organized Crime and Gang Section of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division in Washington, D.C., for their assistance in this prosecution.

 

“So much about the game of soccer is ingrained in many cultures around the world, they watch and play it with an almost religious fervor,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.  “The many subjects we have charged in this expansive and complex investigation used the reverence of fans to make millions of dollars illegally while they thought no one was watching.  Their mistakes were using banks and companies in the United States to hide their misdeeds, but they got caught.  The FBI has worked side-by-side with our national and international partners, traveling all over the world to build this case that wouldn’t have been possible without the great coordination of all the agencies investigating.  We will continue searching out everyone involved in these backroom handshakes, and lucrative bribes that were once just part of the game.”

“As the guilty verdicts reflect, Juan Angel Napout and Jose Maria Marin undermined the soccer-related contracting process by entering into corrupt arrangements with executives of sports marketing companies who were more than willing to pay self-serving bribes,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Rowe of IRS Criminal Investigation.  “IRS Criminal Investigation, along with our law enforcement partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI, will continue to aggressively investigate those individual and corporate entities that use shell companies and financial accounts in bank secrecy jurisdictions, and in the process utilize the U.S. financial system to facilitate crooked practices within the world’s favorite sport.”

The Enterprise the Evidence at Trial[2]

As proved at trial, FIFA and its six continental confederations, together with affiliated regional federations, national member associations, and sports marketing companies, constitute an enterprise of legal entities associated in fact for purposes of the federal racketeering laws.  The principal – and entirely legitimate – purpose of the enterprise is to regulate and promote the sport of soccer worldwide.  The enterprise financed its efforts in significant part by commercializing the media and marketing rights associated with various soccer events and tournaments, often through the sale of multi-year contracts covering multiple editions of the tournaments.

The evidence at trial, including witness testimony, contemporaneously kept ledgers, bank records, emails and text messages, and consensual recordings, established that the defendants and their co-conspirators had engaged in a conspiracy to corrupt the enterprise through racketeering activity.  Specifically, the defendants and their co-conspirators corrupted the FIFA enterprise through the offer and receipt of tens of millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks paid by sports marketing companies to soccer officials.  In particular, the evidence at trial established that Napout and Marin accepted, or agreed to accept, millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for the media and marketing rights to: (a) multiple editions of the CONMEBOL-sponsored Copa América soccer tournament played periodically by South American national teams, including the Copa América Centenario, a special edition of the tournament played in the United States in 2016; and (b) multiple editions of the CONMEBOL-sponsored Copa Libertadores soccer tournament played annually by South American club teams.

The Copa América bribes were paid, variously, by principals of the sports marketing companies Traffic, Torneos y Competencias (“Torneos”), and Full Play.  The Copa Libertadores bribes were paid by Torneos and related entities, using Full Play as an intermediary.  In addition, the government proved that Marin agreed to receive millions of dollars worth of bribes in exchange for the media and marketing rights to the Copa do Brasil, a soccer tournament sponsored by the CBF for Brazilian soccer clubs.  Marin received and agreed to receive these bribes from Traffic and a Brazilian sports marketing company named Klefer.

Defendants who have pleaded guilty and corporate entities that have entered agreements with the government have agreed to forfeit more than $200,000,000 in this and related cases, and the government has collected more than $60,000,000 of that figure to date.  The government has also restrained assets around the world in connection with this and related cases, with the assistance of various foreign governments.  As previously announced, all of the forfeited funds are being held in reserve, in order to ensure their availability to satisfy any orders of restitution entered at sentencing for the benefit of individuals or entities that qualify as victims under federal law.

When sentenced by Judge Chen, the defendants convicted at trial face a maximum of 20 years in prison on each count of conviction.  Each of the defendants also faces liability for millions of dollars in forfeiture and/or restitution, in amounts to be determined at the time of sentencing.   

The government’s investigation is ongoing.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s FIFA Task Force.  Assistant United States Attorneys Samuel P. Nitze, M. Kristin Mace, and Keith D. Edelman are in charge of the trial prosecution, with assistance from Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul Tuchmann, Kaitlin T. Farrell, and Brian D. Morris.

The Defendants:

JUAN ÁNGEL NAPOUT
Age: 59
Citizenship: Paraguay

JOSÉ MARIA MARIN
Age: 85
Citizenship: Brazil

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 15-CR-252 (S-2) (PKC)