Jose Maria Marin, who led the organizing committee for World Cup 2014 in Brazil, has agreed to relocation to the US pending trial. He’s wanted on racketeering charges and could face up to 20 years.
Switzerland’s justice ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that the 83-year-old Marin “must be placed in the custody of a US police escort and taken to the USA within 10 days.” The ministry did not provide further details of the handover.
Marin was among the FIFA officials arrested on May 27 in the FBI’s dawn raids that were the precursor to Sepp Blatter’s re-election as president, and then his announcement that he would step aside days later.
The former president of the Brazilian Football Confederation, who coordinated the country’s 2014 World Cup preparations, is accused of taking “bribes worth millions of dollars from sports marketing companies” in connection with four Copa America tournaments and the Copa do Brasil from 2013 through 2022. Marin agreed to extradition at a judicial hearing in Geneva on Wednesday.
“He is alleged to have shared these bribes with other football officials,” according to the Swiss justice ministry. Marin could face up to 20 years if convicted.
Of the seven officials arrested in May at FIFA’s annual conference, Marin was the last to decide whether or not to fight the US extradition order. Cayman Islands banker Jeffrey Webb agreed to cooperate in May, and pleaded not guilty in July; the remaining five all intend to challenge extradition in Swiss courts.
Marin succeeded Ricardo Teixera, himself implicated in a previous FIFA scandal concerning kickbacks on World Cup broadcasting deals, as the president of Brazil’s CBF in 2012. He also took over the World Cup 2014 committee as Teixera resigned. He’s one of 14 football and marketing officials indicted by US officials in one of the major investigations into FIFA currently underway. Most suspects in the FBI probe – which began with a focus purely on FIFA dealings in the US – hail from either North or South America.
At the time of his arrest, Marin was working on preparations for the football tournament at the 2016 Summer Olympics, to be held in Rio de Janeiro.
msh/rd (AP, Reuters)