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US Jury Convicts Two at FIFA Trial


FILE - This combination of photos shows former South American soccer officials Juan Angel Napout, left, Manuel Burga, center, and Jose Maria Marin. Marin and Napout were convicted Dec. 22, 2017, in New York on corruption charges. Deliberations are continuing in Burga's case.

A U.S. jury has convicted two former soccer officials from South America on charges of corruption, the first trial verdicts in a U.S. investigation into world soccer's governing body, FIFA.

The federal jury in New York deliberated for a week before Friday's verdict and will continue deliberations next week for a third soccer official.

The jurors convicted Jose Maria Marin, former head of Brazil's soccer confederation, and Juan Angel Napout, former head of Paraguayan soccer, of racketeering conspiracy, the top charge against the men. Marin was convicted on six of seven counts and Napout on three out of five.

Deliberations in the case of the former president of Peru's soccer federation, Manuel Burga, who faces one count of racketeering conspiracy, will continue.

The three soccer officials were arrested in 2015, accused of agreeing to take millions of dollars in bribes to bestow television and marketing rights to soccer matches.

U.S. prosecutors have indicted 42 officials and marketing executives as part of the investigation that shook up FIFA. At least 24 people have pleaded guilty.

The U.S. government's main witness, a former marketing executive from Argentina, Alejandro Burzaco, testified that he and his company arranged to pay $160 million in bribes over the course of several years.

The defense argued that the former soccer officials had been framed by Burzaco and other witnesses who were trying to get leniency in their own cases.

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