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Fifa issues life ban to imprisoned former Conmebol president

World football’s governing body Fifa has issued a life ban to former South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) president Juan Ángel Napout, more than a year after he was sentenced to a nine-year prison term for his role in the corruption scandal that engulfed the sport back in 2015.

Napout served as president of the Paraguayan Football Association (APF) from 2007 to 2014 before becoming the head of Conmebol for one year until he was arrested in Zurich in December 2015 as part of the probe by the U.S. Justice Department into corruption in world football.

The adjudicatory chamber of Fifa’s independent Ethics Committee has found Napout, a former Fifa vice‑president who had also been a member of several Fifa committees, guilty of bribery in violation of its Code of Ethics.

The investigation proceedings against Napout referred to bribery schemes during the period from 2012 to 2015 in relation to his role in awarding contracts to companies for the media and marketing rights to Conmebol competitions.

In its decision, the adjudicatory chamber found that Napout had breached Article 27 (Bribery) of the Code of Ethics and, as a result, sanctioned him with the life ban from any football-related activities along with a fine of CHF1m (€913,000/$1.01m).

In December 2017, Napout and former Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) president Jose Maria Marin, were found guilty of multiple corruption charges in a US court. Napout was found guilty on three counts, including racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy. The jury cleared him of two counts of money laundering conspiracy. In August 2018, he was sentenced to nine years in prison along with being ordered to pay more than $4.3m in financial penalties for his role in the affair.

Fifa’s sanctioning of Napout comes after his fellow former Conmebol president, Nicolas Leoz, another key figure in the corruption scandal, died at the age of 90 last month. Earlier in August, Fifa handed a life ban to Romer Osuna, former treasurer and member of the Executive Committee of Conmebol.