The former head of Brazilian soccer was granted compassionate release from a U.S. federal prison on Monday amid the new coronavirus pandemic, his sentence cut short by about eight months.
José Maria Marin was sentenced to four years in prison in August 2018 for his participation in a scheme to accept bribes in exchange for the media and marketing rights to soccer tournaments.
U.S. District Judge Pamela K. Chen announced her decision one day after Marin's lawyers filed a sealed emergency motion to reduce his sentence. Marin turns 88 on May 6.
Chen cited "his advanced age, significantly deteriorating health, elevated risk of dire health consequences due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, status as a non-violent offender and service of 80% of his original sentence" as among the reasons for her decision.
Marin is at the Allenwood Low Federal Correctional Institution in Pennsylvania and had been scheduled for release on Dec. 9, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Marin was governor of São Paulo from May 1982 to March 1983 and was president of the Brazilian Football Confederation from March 2012 to April 2015. He also served as president of the local organizing committee for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
He was arrested in May 2015 while attending a FIFA Congress in Zurich when an indictment handed up a month earlier by a grand jury in Brooklyn federal court was unsealed. Marin was extradited to the U.S. that November, released on bond and lived in a Trump Tower apartment while awaiting trial.
Prosecutors alleged Marin took $6.6 million in bribes, and a jury convicted him in December 2017 of three counts of wire fraud conspiracy, two counts of money laundering conspiracy and one count of racketeering conspiracy, charges related to the Copa America, Copa Libertadores and Copa do Brazil.
He was given the prison sentence by Chen in August 2018 and ordered to forfeit $3.3 million and pay a $1.2 million fine. Marin was banned from soccer for life by FIFA in April 2019 and fined 1 million Swiss francs (then $1 million).
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