Top Brazilian soccer official Marco Polo del Nero was banned for life for bribery and corruption by FIFA's ethics committee on Friday.

By Associated Press
April 27, 2018

ZURICH (AP) Top Brazilian soccer official Marco Polo del Nero was banned for life for bribery and corruption by FIFA's ethics committee on Friday.

FIFA said Del Nero, the former Brazilian Football Confederation president and one-time FIFA executive committee member, was also fined 1 million Swiss francs ($1 million).

Del Nero was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2015 in its sprawling investigation of international soccer corruption linked to broadcasting contracts of football competitions. The 77-year-old Del Nero has not been extradited from Brazil to face charges of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies.

His predecessors leading Brazilian soccer, Ricardo Teixeira and Jose Maria Marin, were also indicted on similar charges. Teixeira, once the son-in-law of the late former FIFA president Joao Havelange, has not been extradited. Marin is awaiting sentence after being found guilty in Brooklyn federal court in December.

Del Nero resigned from the FIFA ruling committee in 2015, but he continued to lead Brazil's football body until being provisionally suspended by the FIFA ethics committee last December.

Del Nero fled Zurich in May 2015 to return to Brazil when other FIFA colleagues were detained in a wave of arrests. Hours later, U.S. federal prosecutors unsealed the scope of their case.

More than 40 football and marketing officials and marketing agencies have been convicted, are awaiting sentence after pleading guilty, or have been indicted in the case that has seen defendants agree to forfeit more than $200 million in criminal gains.

Del Nero's indictment was unsealed in December 2015 after a second round of arrests at the same five-star hotel in Zurich.

Still, FIFA's ethics committee waited two more years before suspending him from office.

Charges found proven against Del Nero included ''bribery and corruption,'' ''offering and accepting gifts and other benefits,'' and conflicts of loyalty, FIFA said in announcing the verdict of its ethics judges.

The case against him involved bribes related to the Copa America, Copa Libertadores, and Brazil Cup.

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