NEW YORK, United States, Apr 14 – Former South American football boss Juan Angel Napout must remain in a US prison as he appeals a nine-year sentence for corruption, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.
US District Judge Pamela K. Chen denied Napout’s request to be released on bail, four days after she rejected the 62-year-old’s application for compassionate release.
“The Court finds that Defendant has not demonstrated by ‘clear and convincing evidence’ that he ‘is not likely to flee,’” Chen ruled.
“If anything, the Court finds that Defendant’s incentive to flee is greater now than when he was initially remanded, given that Defendant has been in prison for approximately 28 months and faces the prospect of having to return to prison for five more years if his appeal is unsuccessful.”
Paraguay’s Napout was sentenced in 2017 to nine years in prison on racketeering and wire fraud charges in connection with bestowing television and marketing rights of major events in exchange for kickbacks.
It was the longest sentence of any of the 42 accused in the “Fifagate” scandal that rocked world football’s governing body.
With his appeal pending, Napout in March sought compassionate release, citing the risks of the coronavirus pandemic.
Chen, however, ruled that Napout was “only at slightly higher risk of experiencing more serious consequences from the virus, if contracted, than younger inmates,” and noted that there had been no cases of COVID-19 reported at the Florida facility where he is held.