RIO DE JANEIRO: Jose Maria Marin, the disgraced former president of the Brazilian CBF, has suffered a court defeat in Brazil – while he remains under house arrest in New York.
Marin was one of the ‘Zurich Seven’ detained by the Swiss authorities in May 2011 on a FIFAGate indictment from the United States Justice Department. He was extradited eventually to the US where he is awaiting trial on corruption charges.
In the meantime Marin, 84, sued Romario, the World Cup hero turned Senator, for describing him as a “thief” back in 2013. The Supreme Court has backed Romario by a judges’ vote of 4-1.
This was Marin’s second Supreme Court defeat by Romario. Last year, the court rejected a complaint after Romario described Marin as a “thief” and “corrupt” in a radio interview.
Since Romario was also then vice-president of parliamentary tourism and sports commission the Supreme Court ruled that he was protected by parliamentary immunity.
The latest case arose after Marin sued for defamation in 2013 after Romario told a meeting organised in Sao Paulo by Corinthians that “in the CBF we have a president who is a medal thief [and] thief of land.” At the time, Marin was president of the CBF and Romario a congressman.
Again the court ruled that Romario had been protected by the parliamentary privilkege attached to his position even though the event had not been a formal occasion.
Court president Luis Roberto Barroso expressed an opinion that, although Romario’s comments had been in bad taste, they had been indeed covered by constitutional immunity.