Ex-president of Guatemalan soccer federation freed on bail
NEW YORK (AP) The former president of the Guatemalan soccer federation was released on $1.5 million bail Wednesday after pleading not guilty to criminal charges stemming from a bribery scandal that spawned numerous arrests and shaken international soccer's governing body.
Brayan Jimenez, 61, appeared in Brooklyn federal court a day after he was extradited to the United States to face an indictment containing charges including racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering.
Under a bail package agreed to by prosecutors and his defense lawyer, Jimenez left court with an electronic monitor to keep him tethered to the Jersey City, New Jersey, home where he will stay with friends until trial.
Jimenez, the former president of the Guatemalan Football Federation, had been in custody since his Jan. 13 arrest in Guatemala City. He was brought to the United States on a commercial flight.
His arrest came a month after the arrest of Hector Trujillo, the former secretary general of the federation. He also was extradited to the U.S. to face racketeering charges. Trujillo was released on $4 million bail in January after pleading not guilty.
Trujillo and Jimenez were among 16 men, mostly from Central and South America, who were charged as a result of a broad investigation into FIFA, the governing body of international soccer. An indictment alleges that defendants accepted bribes and kickbacks related to lucrative broadcasting and hosting rights for the World Cup and soccer's other biggest events.
U.S. prosecutors first announced the case in May with charges against 14 other individuals, including seven top FIFA officials arrested at a hotel in Zurich.
Several defendants have already pleaded guilty, including some not initially identified when charges were unveiled.
Jimenez's attorney, Justine Harris, said her client was pleased to reunite with his family.
''He's been in custody for over a month and looks forward to facing the charges in court,'' she said.