South American soccer officials go on trial in NY

FIFA Trial Set to Begin in NY With the Trappings of a Mob Case

The US investigation into corruption at the world's football governing body, Fifa, was first revealed in May 2015. The officials are accused of regularly taking six figure bribes. "But they got too ambitious, used too broad a brush", he said, distancing Mr. Burga from the scores of defendants who have entered guilty pleas in the case and the witnesses poised to testify against the three defendants in coming weeks.

Prosecutors haven't disclosed the names of their cooperators because of attempts, they say, to intimidate witnesses.

Edelman said the United States government would present evidence, derived from witness testimony, bank records, covert recordings and other documentation that proves each of the officials had received bribes. "There are drinks, press conferences but underneath the surface are lies, greed, corruption".

Prosecutors accuse them of taking part in a 24-year scheme involving at least $150 million in bribes paid by marketing firms in exchange for lucrative broadcasting and hosting rights for prestigious tournaments. "Some of these officials had other reasons to celebrate, they had agreed to receive millions of dollars in bribes regarding the tournament".

"What this case is about is a government concluding that everyone involved at high levels of soccer is dirty", said Silvia B. Piñera-Vazquez, a lawyer for Mr. Napout. The trio then used USA financial institutions to funnel millions of dollars to secret offshore accounts, prosecutors allege. Napout, the prosecutor alleged, had received his money in cash, sometimes "over $100,000 at a time", whereas Marin, who had been the subject of a domestic corruption investigation, had told a middleman to "hold onto the money until the coast was clear".

Yet defense attorneys for each man claimed that their clients had not taken part in a long-standing scheme that they conceded was part of the seedy underbelly of global soccer. She accused the U.S. government of paying other guilty officials hundreds of thousands of dollars to remain in the country to testify and providing their families with visas to the United States.

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His government says the police act in self-defense, but critics say executions are taking place with no accountability. More than 3,900 people have been killed in a war on drugs that Mr Duterte declared when he took office a year ago .

Prosecutors then "left it to you to sort out", Fort Lauderdale-based Udolf told the jury, gesturing enthusiastically while pacing at the podium from which he delivered his opening statement.

Bruce Udolf, for Burga, said: 'The people that the government have laid down with are some of the most despicable, corrupt people on earth'.

"They've made a lot of righteous charges against a lot of bad people".

Lawyer Charles Stillman cast his powerful client Marin, 85, as a clueless child "picking daisies" in a youth soccer league while the scheme went on around him.

FIFA's World Cup is the globe's most-watched sporting event and generates billions of dollars in sponsorship and broadcasting rights. One woman chosen as a juror told Chen that a demonstrator said soccer fans worldwide consider what emerges at the trial to be "very important", adding, "Internationally, it's huge". "It's a passion, a way of life".

Prosecutors are expected to call witnesses that include an owner and employee of a sports marketing company to detail how documents were shredded and a computer server scrubbed as part of a cover-up after the charges in the case were announced. All three defendants face extensive prison time if found guilty.

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