Prosecutors revealed new details of alleged bribes paid to FIFA executive committee members to get their votes for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup and accused a pair of former 21st-century leaders Century Fox for making illegal payments to earn broadcast rights to the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.
An indictment released Monday in the US District Court in Brooklyn said that Nicolas Leoz, then president of the South American governing body Conmebol, and former president of the Brazilian federation Ricardo Teixeira have received bribes wine to vote for Qatar at the FIFA executive committee meeting in 2010.
Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago, president of the governing body Concacaf of North America and Central America and the Caribbean, received $ 5 million in bribes to vote for Russia to host in 2018 10 different front companies that included entities in Anguilla, Cyprus and the British Virgin Islands, the alleged indictment. The president of the Guatemalan federation Rafael Salguero was promised a million dollar bribe to vote for Russia, according to the indictment.
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Leoz, who died last August, avoided extradition, as did Warner and Teixeira. Salguero pleaded guilty in 2018 to two counts of wire fraud conspiracy and one count of racketeering and money laundering conspiracy.
Alejandro Burzaco, former head of marketing company Torneos y Competencias, said in 2017 that the three South Americans on the FIFA executive committee had received million dollar bribes in support of Qatar, which prevailed over the United States 14-8.
Former 21st Century Fox Inc. executives Hernan Lopez and Carlos Martinez were charged on Monday with making payments to Conmebol officials for information about the rights to broadcast the offers of a co-conspirator whose identity was not identified in the indictment.
ESPN had American English-language television rights to the World Cup from 1994 to 2014, but Fox in 2011 obtained the rights for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. After the 2022 tournament in Qatar was moved from summer to In late fall, a time when it is likely to attract less attention in the United States, FIFA awarded Fox rights for 2026 without a tender.
The indictment, released by a grand jury on March 18, is also charged with ex-Imagina Media Audiovisual CEO Gerard Romy and Uruguayan sports marketing company Full Play Group SA.
The indictment includes charges of wire fraud and money laundering. The charges against Romy and Full Play also allege a racketeering plot.
“Profits and kickbacks in international football have been deeply entrenched and commonly known for decades,” said William F Sweeney Jr, deputy director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office, in a statement. . “Over a period of several years, the defendants and their accomplices corrupted the governance and affairs of international football with bribes and bribes and engaged in fraudulent criminal schemes which caused significant damage to the sport of football. Their schemes included the use of shell companies, shell consulting contracts, and other cover-ups to conceal bribes and bribe payments and make them appear legitimate. ”
Since the first indictments were announced in May 2015, 26 guilty pleas have been publicly announced, including many former football officials, including Concacaf secretary general Chuck Blazer.
Conmebol president Juan Angel Napout and president of the Brazilian federation Jose Maria Marin were sentenced after trial. Napout is in prison in Florida and Marin was released from prison last week. Some people are awaiting conviction.
Lopez was CEO of Fox International Channels, a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox, and Martinez was president of Fox International Channels and executive of Fox Latin American Channel Inc. They are accused of joining Full Play to pay millions of dollars in bribes to Conmebol leaders. in exchange for rights to the Copa Libertadores, the annual club championship in South America.
“It is shocking that the government is carrying out such a slim case,” Lopez’s lawyer Matthew D Umhofer said in an email. “The indictment contains nothing more than a single paragraph on Mr. Lopez who alleges nothing wrong from a distance. Mr. Lopez cannot wait to defend himself at trial. “
Martinez’s lawyer Steven J McCool said in an email: “We are confident that a jury will quickly exonerate Carlos as the charges against him are nothing more than false fiction. “
Carlos Ortiz said that Full Play intended to plead not guilty in Thursday’s indictment and that his client “looks forward to vigorously defending all of the charges during the trial”.
Romy’s lawyer Robert J Giuffra Jr declined to comment. Fox Sports did not respond to a request for comment.
Romy is accused of joining his alleged co-conspirators to pay a bribe of $ 3 million to Jeffrey Webb, the former president of the governing body of North and Central America and Caribbean Concacaf, for media and marketing rights for the World Cup qualifiers at home in the Caribbean. Cycles 2018 and 2022. Webb pleaded guilty on November 23, 2015 to several counts and is awaiting conviction.