Brazil’s ex-soccer chief tries to reach bond deal to stay out of jail

NEW YORK, (Reuters) – Brazil’s former soccer chief is having trouble fulfilling part of a $15 million bond package he agreed to in exchange for staying out of jail pending a trial on charges that sprung from the U.S. corruption investigation into FIFA, the sport’s world governing body.

Jose Maria Marin, 83, has pleaded not guilty to bribery-related charges and was released from custody last month after pledging assets including $1 million in cash and a mortgage on his $3.5 million Manhattan apartment, according to court records.

But Marin has been unable to obtain another part of the package, a $2 million corporate surety bond, prosecutors and one of Marin’s defense lawyers said at a court hearing in Brooklyn, New York City on Wednesday.

Marin was allowed to remain under house arrest for at least another month while his lawyers try to obtain the bond or find another way to satisfy prosecutors. U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie set a deadline of Jan. 15.

U.S. prosecutors have charged 41 people and entities in a probe of soccer corruption spanning the globe, knocking out the leadership of FIFA and of federations in much of the Americas.

Marin was arrested in May in a dawn raid at a luxury Zurich hotel and agreed in October to be extradited from Switzerland.

He has been trying to find a U.S. surety to issue a bond based on assets in Brazil but so far has not succeeded, his lawyer Charles Stillman said in court.

Prosecutors did not want to wait any longer, said one of them, Samuel Nitze.

Marin headed Brazil’s preparations to host the 2014 World Cup while president of the Brazilian Football Confederation, and also held positions in FIFA, including on the organizing committees for Olympic football tournaments and the World Cup.

U.S. authorities have accused Marin of being among several high-ranking soccer officials who were due to receive $110 million in bribes in exchange for the media rights for regional tournaments. At least $40 million had been paid out when the charges were announced, prosecutors said.


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