US judge awards Fifa fraction of restitution request

US judge awards Fifa fraction of restitution request

NEW YORK,. A US judge has awarded Fifa just 0.4 per cent of the US$28 million (RM117 million) it requested in restitution after the New York corruption trial that ended in guilty verdicts for two defendants.

District Judge Pamela Chen, who presided over the six-week 2017 trial, issued a 32-page ruling Tuesday that took Fifa to task for its “excessive,” even “wildly excessive” and “patently frivolous” requests for legal fees.

The trial saw US prosecutors lift the lid on endemic corruption in the heart of Fifa, football’s governing body, and on the largest graft scandal in the world’s most popular sport detailing crimes totaling more than US$200 million.

Paraguay’s Juan Angel Napout was sentenced to nine years in prison for his role in the sweeping Fifa corruption scandal and Jose Maria Marin, the former boss of Brazilian football, to four years.

Of the roughly US$28 million total that Fifa requested in the form of attorneys’ fees and investigative expenses, as well as US$97,663 from Marin and US$121,446,30 from Napout, she awarded Fifa a total of US$108,267.80.

That amount included US$64,445.94 for attorneys’ fees and investigative costs, and 20 per cent of the Marin and Napout salary requests at US$19,532.60 and US$24,289.26 respectively.

Concacaf and Conmebol ? which organize soccer in North, Central America and the Caribbean, and in South America respectively ? were also awarded drastically stripped down sums compared to their requests.

Concacaf originally demanded an upper-end restitution of US$27-32.7 million in lost revenue, which the court threw out on the grounds that Concacaf failed to provide “sound methodology” to support its claim.

Of the additional US$1.89 million that the organisation requested in attorneys’ fees and expenses, the court agreed to US$1.74 million.

Chen also threw out Conmebol’s request for US$85.4 million in lost revenue.

Conmebol asked Marin and Napout to pay back their US$590,000 and US$105,000 salaries, a request that the court again slashed back to 20 per cent, making Marin liable for US$118,000 and Napout US$21,000.

Conmebol asked for US$713,191 in attorneys’ fees and investigative expenses. The total restitution that Conmebol is allowed to collect is US$783,662.

The judge also denied three former Traffic USA sales employees restitution after they alleged that they lost their jobs and reputations after the company and top executives were indicted.

In total, 42 officials and marketing executives, as well as the sports company Traffic, were indicted in the scandal. ? AFP