Ex-Brazilian Soccer Official Pleads Not Guilty in FIFA Probe

  • Fourth FIFA defendant appears in U.S. on corruption charges
  • Marin faces U.S. charges of taking part in a bribery scheme

A former Brazilian soccer official pleaded not guilty in the U.S. to bribery charges as global corruption probes into the sport’s governing body widen to target banks in Europe.

Jose Maria Marin, one of seven people arrested in Switzerland, appeared in Brooklyn, New York, federal court Tuesday on charges that he took bribes from marketing executives seeking lucrative media rights to international soccer tournaments.

Marin is the fourth of 14 defendants charged in an indictment unsealed in May to appear in a U.S. court. Extradition efforts remain pending in Switzerland, Argentina, Paraguay and Trinidad for the others.

The 83-year-old sports administrator, attired in a teal sweater, blue shirt and dark pants, seemed not to be feeling well at one point, as he was ushered to a chair and given a glass of water. His lawyers and prosecutors stood around him as the judge wondered if he were in any discomfort. The hearing resumed, with Marin seated in his chair while everyone else stood.

Marin stood later to embrace his wife when she approached him.

U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie allowed Marin to remain out of jail and under house arrest in his Trump Tower apartment. The judge set bail at $15 million, which is to be secured by $1 million in cash, the $3.5 million value of the property and a $2 million surety bond. Marin is scheduled to appear in court again Dec. 16.

Marin listened to the proceedings through a translator and nodded when the judge addressed him, saying little otherwise. His attorney, Charles Stillman, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.

"We will be preparing to deal with the charges," Stillman said in an e-mailed statement after the hearing.

Corruption probes of the organizers of the sport now also include banks and national sport associations involved in transactions linked to FIFA. UBS Group AG said Tuesday it received inquiries from Swiss authorities about its banking relationship with FIFA officials, days after Credit Suisse Group AG disclosed it was also questioned.

In Germany, prosecutors and police raided the country’s soccer association in a probe into a 6.7 million-euro payment ($7.4 million) to FIFA linked to the country’s application to host the 2006 World Cup.

The case is U.S. v. Webb, 1:15-cr-00252, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

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