RIO DE JANEIRO: Ricardo Teixeira, scandal-enshrouded former Brazilian football supremo, has been awarded £3,250 damages for defamation against British investigative journalist Andrew Jennings.
Jennings, who had accused Teixeira of corruption in an interview posted on the blog of 1994 World Cup-winner Romario, reportedly described the court ruling “absurd.”
Further criticism of the court came from the former presidents of two Brazilian sports federations who were ousted after legal actions brought against them with the support of the country’s National Olympic Committee.
Teixeira was president of the Brazilian football federation for 23 years, head of the country’s 2014 World Cup organising committee and a member of the executive committee of world federation FIFA, until fleeing into exile in Miami last March.
The former son-in-law of ex-FIFA president Joao Havelange had come under pressure over a number of scandals including the ISL case in which he had sought to block the Swiss courts from revealing that he had received more than £5m in illicit payments,
Jennings, a scourge of FIFA over the ISL scandal, had attacked Teixeira in an interview published in August 2011 via a blog run by Romario, now a member of parliament and a voluble critic of Teixeira, the CBF and FIFA.
A Brazilian inquiry into money-laundering allegations against Teixeira was wound up subsequently without any action being taken and he sued Jennings for defamation.
Judge Augusto Alves Moreira Junior, in the 3rd Civil Court of Barra da Tijuca, ruled that the action should succeed because Jennings had not answered a subpoena to present a defence.
His comments were thus ruled “unfair and offensive” and damaging to Teixeira’s character in suggesting “an involvement in corruption scandals and acceptance of bribes.”
Reacting to the court’s decision Eric Maleson, former head of the Brazilian ice sports federation, said he was not surprised by the latest example of the “absurd” justice dispensed by the Rio court.
Maleson, who has complained to the IOC about his defenestration, said: “It is widely known that the court system in Brazil is deeply troubled and produces some pretty strange results. This is certainly one of them.”
Celso Wolf Junior, similarly removed from his leadership of the national badminton federation, echoed Maleson’s comments. Wolf said: “I have experienced the same absurdities in the Tribunal of Justice in Sao Paulo.”
The IOC told Maleson that his complaint should be subjected to a full appeal process through the Brazilian courts.
However Maleson has no faith in Brazilian justice.
He said: “The court rulings against Mr Jennings, Mr Wolf and myself are more evidence that the system is broken. The Olympic Charter recognises that arbitrary and capricious justice is a problem across the world and, critically, protects members of the Olympic Movement.”
In 2011 the Brazilian National Council of Justice accused 62 judges in Brazil of selling justice to the highest bidder. Further such inquiries are under way.
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