The former Guatemalan soccer chief pleaded not guilty on participating in bribery schemes at the center of the corruption investigation into soccer’s global governing body. The witch hunt for erring FIFA executives continue.
Brayan Jimenez, the former boss of Guatemala Football Federation was extradited from Guatemala a day before he entered his plea through his lawyer in Brooklyn Federal court. Jimenez was arrested earlier in January on charges of racketeering, conspiracy and wire fraud.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Ramon Reyes directed that Jimenez will be confined at a friend’s place at New Jersey after posting a bond of $1.5 million, $75,000 of it in cash, according to the Reuters.
Justine Harris, Jimenez’s lawyer told the reporters outside the court that his client is ready to face the charges. “Mister Jimenez is relieved to be reunited with his family,” Harris told reporters after the hearing, according to Jamaica Observor. “He is looking forward to facing the charges.”
The US investigation aims to crack a scheme involving over $200 million in bribes and kickbacks sought by soccer officials for marketing and broadcast rights, and Jimenez is one of the 41 marketing officials under fire. The long-term scandals surfaced to rattle FIFA in July’2016. Gianni Infantino, FIFA’s newly elected president now aims to lead the global governing body to an era free from corruption. U.S. and Swiss investigations will continue.
Earlier, the Guatemalan foreign ministry revealed in a statement that Jimenez was put on a commercial flight from La Aurora International Airport in the capital. He was arrested in January in an apartment in a posh suburb of Guatemala city in a disheveled condition, reports Yahoo.