NEW YORK: United States prosecutors are preparing to move to sentencing and trial against FIFAGate defendants even though several of the biggest names have yet to be brought before the court writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
A majority of the 15 defendants who have pleaded guilty to a variety of bribery, fraud and money-laundering charges are expected to be arraigned for sentence in June.
The substantive contested cases are being set down for spring of next year. US reports quote prosecutor Robert Capers as having informed Judge Raymond Dearie that jury selection should start next February 27.
Some 42 individuals and companies altogether have been indicted in the $200m corruption scandal which exploded last May with the detention of seven senior officials – including two vice-presidents of FIFA – in Zurich on the eve of the world federation’s election congress.
Those still out of reach include, notably:
Jack Warner, the former president of central and north American confederation CONCACAF, who is contesting extradition from Trinidad & Tobago;
Nicolas Leoz, ex-president of South American body CONMEBOL, who is contesting extradition from Paraguay; and
Marketing executives Hugo and Mariano Jinkis who are contesting extradition from Argentina.
Prosecutors were coming under pressure not to wait on the extradition actions and to progress cases against those already bailed or risk counter-actions to have charges dropped for lack of process.
The possibility is open to prosecutors to press for guilty verdicts in absentia.