Ex-Brazil soccer chief pleads not guilty in U.S. after extradition
By Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi and Nate Raymond
ZURICH/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former Brazilian soccer chief Jose Maria Marin pleaded not guilty to bribery charges in a U.S. court after being extradited on Tuesday from Switzerland in the corruption case that shook world soccer's governing body FIFA.
Marin, 83, who headed Brazil's preparations to host the 2014 World Cup while president of the Brazilian Football Confederation, had bail set at $15 million and a judge ordered him placed under house arrest.
He entered his plea through an interpreter before U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie in Brooklyn, New York hours after arriving on a flight from Zurich, where police arrested him in May. Marin had agreed last week to the extradition.
Marin appeared to have trouble standing during the hearing, which Dearie paused briefly to ask if he were feeling well.
Marin was among seven officials from global soccer body FIFA who were arrested after being indicted on U.S. charges, an affair that has scandalized the administration of the world's most popular sport and upset powerful commercial sponsors.
Longtime FIFA president Sepp Blatter is among the people at Zurich headquarters under investigation by Swiss authorities. Blatter denies any wrongdoing. He has been suspended for 90 days.
U.S. authorities 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.
The indictment also links Marin to a scheme to receive bribes for the commercial rights associated with the Copa do Brasil, an annual tournament for Brazil's top club teams. Continued...