NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Jurors have resumed deliberations at the U.S. trial of three former South American soccer officials charged with taking millions of dollars in bribes.
Deliberations entered their fifth day on Thursday in the case against Manuel Burga, of Peru; Juan Napout, of Paraguay; and Jose Maria Marin, of Brazil. All three have pleaded not guilty to taking the bribes from marketing firms vying for lucrative commercial rights to major soccer tournaments.
The three are among the more than 40 soccer officials, businessmen and entities charged in a scandal that’s shaken FIFA, soccer’s governing body.
The defense has claimed that government built its case on untrustworthy cooperators who have pleaded guilty and are angling for lighter sentences.
More than 40 other people have pleaded guilty to participating in a 24-year scheme involving $150 million tied to the awarding of broadcasting and hosting rights.
“The allegations are that it was all about selection – choosing where events would be held, choosing who got the rights to broadcast,” said attorney John Buretta to 60 Minutes. “It was those key choices which were very lucrative to the recipients that created the power here.”
Buretta used to run the organized crime section of the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York with a specialty in the Mafia.
FIFA’s main job is to organize and run the World Cup soccer tournament, next happening mid-summer 2018 in Russia.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)