New York (AFP) - A federal judge in New York on Monday granted the release from prison on humanitarian grounds of an 87-year-old former senior Brazilian football official tarnished by the FIFA corruption scandal.
Judge Pamela Chen authorized the release of Jose Maria Marin, a former Brazilian Football Confederation president, who was serving a four-year prison sentence for accepting millions of dollars in bribes as part of the global FIFA corruption scandal.
Marin was scheduled for release in early December 2020, according the US Federal Bureau of Prisons.
But following a request from the Brazilian's lawyers Chen granted a "compassionate release," for reasons "including 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," a court document seen by AFP read.
Marin was the first major football official found guilty and sent to prison in the United States as part of the "FIFA gate" scandal of kickbacks and bribes that smeared the reputation of the global sports organization.
He was being held in FCI Allenwood, a minimum security facility in the state of Pennsylvania.
In August of 2018, a New York jury found Marin guilty of accepting $6.6 million in bribes -- along with his deputy, Marco Polo del Nero -- in exchange for contracts to broadcast major tournaments.
Upon hearing his sentence Marin, who had already served 13 months behind bars, broke down in the courtroom and burst out crying.
"I could die in prison!" he wailed. "My wife and my family -- don't take away their means of survival!"