Tue | Nov 28, 2023

Ex-football boss Napout denied compassionate release

Published:Saturday | April 11, 2020 | 12:15 AM


A federal judge denied a request by the former head of South American football to be given compassionate release from prison because of the new coronavirus pandemic, but reserved judgement yesterday on his request to be let out on bail, pending his appeal.

US District Judge Pamela K. Chen in Brooklyn said Juan Ángel Napout had not exhausted his administrative remedies with the Federal Bureau of Prisons in seeking compassionate release.

Napout was convicted in December 2017 of accepting bribes, and his lawyers moved to reduce Napout’s sentence to time served or to let him serve the next six months at his condominium in South Florida or for release until the appeal is decided.

Napout, who turns 62 on May 13, is serving a nine-year sentence and is scheduled for release on August 9, 2025.


“I am not going to be a fugitive, Your Honour,” he said near the end of an 85-minute telephone hearing. “I’m just asking you, Your Honour, for your mercy.”

His request for bail was opposed by federal prosecutors.

Napout was president of the South American governing body CONMEBOL from August 2014 until December 2015, president of the Paraguayan Football Association from 2007-14 and a member of FIFA’s executive committee. He was arrested in Zurich while attending FIFA meetings in December 2015.

Napout was convicted on December 22, 2017, of one count of racketeering conspiracy and two counts of wire fraud conspiracy, and he was taken into custody that day.

He was sentenced by Chen to nine years in prison the following August 29 and is at the low-security Federal Correctional Institution in Miami. His attempt to overturn the verdict was argued on November 7 at the 2nd Circuit US Court of Appeals, and is pending before judges Robert D. Sack, Peter W. Hall and Joseph F. Bianco.

Napout filed a request for compassionate release with the Bureau of Prisons on March 30, and the bureau has 30 days to make a decision. His lawyers cited correlation between greater risk for more severe COVID-19 symptoms in older people. The Government said no prisoner at the Miami facility had got ill, and Chen cited his being in the lower end of the 60-69 group.