Media companies hit with bribery claims at Federation Internationale de Football Association corruption trial

15 November, 2017, 10:03 | Author: Cecil Buchanan
  • Fox Sports Go Fail

Alejandro Burzaco, a witness for the prosecution in the case, said in court that he was aware of six media companies involved in bribes, including Fox, O Globo from Brazil, Media Pro from Spain, and Televisa from Mexico.

The companies, which were not charged by USA prosecutors in the case, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Burzaco's testimony came at the NY trial of three former South American soccer officials, who are among the people who allegedly accepted the bribes.

Additionally, according to Burzaco, the chief executive of Fox Panamerican Sports, James Ganley, signed a fraudulent contract in January 2008 that allowed T&T to pay $3.7 million in bribes to multiple soccer officials in exchange for a rights contract extension signed soon thereafter.

He also told how they were paid for their votes on the executive committee for choosing hosts of the World Cup.

After Qatar came up short in the first rounds of voting, Grondona and Teixeira cornered Leoz in a restroom, Burzaco said. Prosecutors claim the three accepted bribes in exchange for the award of rights to soccer tournaments. During a break, he and Teixeria then pulled Leoz aside to "shake him up" and ask: "What the hell are you doing?"

Burzaco's testimony, which is expected to continue into Wednesday, also implicated the three former football executives, José Maria Marin, Manuel Burga and Juan Ángel Napout, now on trial.

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Last year, a Florida-based soccer network that repeatedly lost out on the television rights to tournaments that Fox Sports aired had made similar bribery allegations against Fox in a pending federal lawsuit.

The three former officials, some of whom went on to replace Grondona, Teixeria and Leoz at the head of Conmebol, deny their role in the 24-year scheme involving at least $150m in bribes.

The three soccer officials on trial in Brooklyn are Juan Ángel Napout, former president of the South American soccer governing body CONMEBOL and Paraguay's soccer federation; Manuel Burga, former president of Peru's soccer federation; and José Maria Marin, former president of Brazil's soccer federation.

After one meeting where arrangements were made to wire Marin a portion of a $2 million bribe, Marin "gave me a hug and showed me his gratitude", Burzaco said.

Burzaco told jurors that he helped arrange bribes paid to all three defendants, though his testimony went far beyond that, describing corruption throughout global soccer.

"I said, 'Alejandro, you go to the United States and face justice,"' he said about the decision.

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