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Former head of Guatemalan football handed $507,000 fine after pleading guilty to role in FIFA corruption case

Brayan Jimenez, a former head of Guatemalan football's governing body, was sentenced this morning to time served and fined NZ$507,000 after pleading guilty for his role in the FIFA corruption scandal uncovered by US prosecutors.

Judge Pamela K. Chen issued the sentence during a hearing in US District Court in Brooklyn. She said federal guidelines called for a prison sentence of 41 to 51 months, but Jimenez's cooperation and remorse mitigated the situation.

Chen noted Jimenez had been held in custody for 50 days and spent four to five months under home detention.

Jimenez is now subject to two years of supervised release. He already has paid NZ$145,000 and said he intends to leave the United States and return to Guatemala within 30 days.

Jimenez was president of the National Football Federation of Guatemala from December 2009 until May 2015.

"There are no excuse and no justification for my actions," he told the court, his words translated from Spanish. "My actions have brought shame to the world of football."

Jimenez said that at the time of the crime, he had been a longtime alcoholic. He said he had been sober for more than three years. His wife and three children watched from the front row.

He was charged in November 2015 as part of the second wave of indictments in the Justice Department's investigation into soccer corruption. He pleaded guilty in July 2016 to one count of racketeering conspiracy and one count of wire fraud conspiracy.

Jimenez said he arranged to obtain bribes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars for himself and another official of the federation during negotiations with the Miami-based company Media World, later known as Imagina US.

He said the money was wired from Media World in the US to other people's accounts in Guatemala, and his share was then distributed to him.

Jimenez said the payments were in exchange for media rights for Guatemala's home World Cup qualifiers in 2018 and '22, and for giving two individuals the right to organize exhibition games involving Guatemala's national team.

He faced up to 20 years in prison at sentencing. At the time of his guilty plea, he agreed to a forfeiture judgment of NZ$507,000.

"This is a very serious crime or crimes," Chen said, noting Jimenez had taken an extra NZ$290,000 bribe that he kept secret from his co-conspirators.

Jimenez, a member of the FIFA committee for fair play and social responsibility, was banned from football for life in April 2017 after the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA's ethics committee said he violated the FIFA code of ethics' articles on general rules of conduct; loyalty; duty of disclosure, cooperation and reporting; conflicts of interest; and bribery and corruption.

Two football players fighting for the ball
Football. Source: istock.com


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