US jury acquits Peruvian defendant in FIFA bribery case

International

A former South American soccer official was acquitted Tuesday of a corruption charge stemming from the FIFA bribery scandal after two others were convicted last week, capping a trial in which U.S. prosecutors sought to expose a culture of greed and corruption among the powerful men who oversee the world's most popular sport.Jurors found Manuel Burga, the 60-year-old former president of Peru's soccer federation, not guilty of a single racketeering conspiracy charge.Burga wept when the acquittal was announced. After the verdict, he came out of the courtroom, his eyes wet and said: "God Bless America. That's all I can say."Burga said he would go home and resume a career as a lawyer that had been largely left behind for the last 15 years during his career as a soccer executive."My history in soccer is finished," he said. "I'll go back to the law."On Friday, jurors told U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen they were deadlocked on Burga's case but had reached guilty verdicts on multiple charges against two other former officials: Juan Napout, of Paraguay, and Jose Maria Marin, of Brazil. Chen gave jurors the holiday weekend to think about Burga's case.The judge had jailed Marin, 85, and Napout, 59, after their convictions Friday. The two were acquitted on some lesser charges. Burga, meanwhile, was waiting on his passport to return home.Marin, Burga and Napout had been arrested in 2015. Prosecutors accused them of agreeing to take millions of dollars in bribes from businessmen seeking to lock up lucrative media rights or influence hosting rights for the World Cup and other major tournaments controlled by FIFA.

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