The U.S. government’s well-publicized FIFA prosecution has seen dozens of soccer officials charged with awarding lucrative contracts in exchange for millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks. After a six-week trial in late 2017, two such defendants—Juan Ángel Napout and José Maria Marin—were convicted in the Eastern District of New York of honest service wire fraud conspiracy, among other charges. Napout and Marin were the former heads of the national soccer federations of Paraguay and Brazil.
Last month, the Second Circuit affirmed their convictions in a decision that revisited the question of extraterritoriality and considered whether the honest services fraud statute was unconstitutionally vague as applied to these foreign defendants. United States v. Napout, No. 18-2750, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 19299 (2d Cir. June 22, 2020). The opinion provides important insight into how the honest services fraud statute may be used in situations with seemingly tenuous connection to the United States, and what evidence defendants can present in response.
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