Two other FIFA executives – Nicolás Leoz, former president of the South American football governing body CONMEBOL, and former president of the Brazilian football federation Ricardo Teixeira – have also received bribes in amounts not disclosed in exchange for their votes to give the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, according to the indictment.
The bribes were organized in the days leading up to a FIFA leaders’ meeting in Zurich in December 2010, during which world football leaders voted at the venues of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. announcement this month of the next World Cup in Russia and Qatar – particularly the latter, whose climate will demand that the World Cup be contested for the first time outside of the summer months – immediately prompted the speculation about corruption.
The four FIFA executives had been charged with crimes in previous indictments in a lengthy investigation into corruption in world football overseen by the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, which resulted in dozens of Convictions of former FIFA leaders since the charges were first introduced in May 2015. Warner, 77, has been fighting extradition for almost five years and still lives in Trinidad and Tobago. Salguero, 73, pleaded guilty to several charges in 2016. Leoz fought the extradition of Paraguay until his death last year at the age of 90. Teixeira, 72, continues to fight extradition from Brazil.
Monday’s indictment included new charges against two former 21st Century Fox executives, Hernan Lopez and Carlos Martinez, who were charged with wire fraud and money laundering in connection with allegations that they allegedly paid bribes to CONMEBOL officials to obtain press, television and marketing rights for a South American football tournament, the Copa Libertadores, as well as other events.
“The charges released today reflect this Bureau’s continued commitment to eradicating corruption at the highest level in international football and in businesses engaged in the promotion and dissemination of the sport,” said Richard P. Donoghue, American lawyer for the eastern district of New York.
Lawyers for the two former Fox executives have spoken out in the statements.
“It is shocking that the government is bringing up such a slim matter. … Mr. Lopez is anxious to defend himself at trial, “said Lopez’s lawyer Matthew Umhofer.
“I am sure a jury will quickly exonerate Carlos because the charges against him are nothing more than outdated fiction,” said Steven McCool, lawyer for Martinez.
21st Century Fox is now owned by the Walt Disney Company, whose company spokespersons did not immediately respond to a request for comment.