Guatemalan Soccer Executive Gets 8 Months in FIFA Corruption Case – New York Times

Judge Chen expressed little regard for the fact that Mr. Trujillo’s crimes were not considered crimes in his own country, noting that he had used the United States banking system and routed bribe money through a construction company in Seattle while also creating a sham construction contract, seeking to evade prosecutors even after the American case was announced in 2015.

Still, in imposing a sentence that was less than a quarter of the recommended minimum, Judge Chen showed Mr. Trujillo, 64, leniency. As mitigating factors, she cited his age; his training as a lawyer, which she called a “double-edged sword,” suggesting he had been mindful of his lawbreaking; and the time he spent in three different United States jails in late 2015, when he was held in a high-security facility and at one point placed in solitary confinement.

That month spent in jail will be applied to his eight-month sentence, the judge said, making it an effective seven months Mr. Trujillo will spend in prison before he is ultimately deported back to Guatemala.

The details of his restitution payment were not completed Wednesday, as the Guatemalan federation to receive the money has itself been suspended by FIFA. Prosecutors suggested that the money be held by a law firm for Concacaf — soccer’s governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean — until Guatemala’s federation is restored to good standing and can collect it.

“It’s been more than 23 months of suffering and pain for my family and myself,” Mr. Trujillo said tearfully on Wednesday, his wife, children, cousins and brother looking on. “I am not the kind of person the government thinks I am.”

Mr. Trujillo’s punishment is likely to be closely interpreted by the more than 20 other defendants awaiting resolution in their own cases. A handful of others await trial, scheduled to begin next month, while others remain abroad and out of reach of the United States.

Mr. Trujillo’s own arrest took place in Florida in 2015 — the year American prosecutors announced their investigation into FIFA along with a series of initial convictions dating to 2013. It was only after the Disney cruise ship he had been on with his family docked that federal agents arrested him.

“I accepted this position because I loved soccer,” he said Wednesday. “It’s now soccer that sees itself tainted, and it’s very painful for me to see I’ve contributed to that taint.”


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