U.S. government witness in FIFA trial said media companies paid bribes

BIG APPLE (Reuters) – A prosecution witness in the corruption trial of three former soccer officials testified on Tuesday that Fox Sports Activities, Mexico’s Grupo Televisa and Brazil’s Globo paid bribes to secure tv rights for soccer fits.

FILE PICTURE: Businessman Alejandro Burzaco (L) of Argentina arrives on the Federal Court Docket in Brooklyn, THE BIG APPLE, September 18, 2015. REUTERS/John Taggart

The testimony got here throughout the primary trial to emerge from the U.S. investigation of corruption surrounding FIFA, soccer’s world governing physique.

Alejandro Burzaco, former head of Sports Activities Advertising And Marketing company Torneos y Competencias, named the businesses whereas being questioned by means of a prosecutor in Brooklyn federal Court. Torneos y Competencias and Fox Sports, a unit of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, collectively owned a Sports Activities Advertising project, T&T Sports Activities Advertising And Marketing Ltd.

Fox, Televisa and Globo, that have been not charged by using U.S. prosecutors in the case, did not immediately respond to requests for remark.

Burzaco mentioned in Courtroom that Fox was informed about bribes paid to soccer officials with the aid of T&T.

Prosecutors also showed jurors a contract dated 2008 between T&T and a Turks and Caicos-based entity known as Somerton Corp, offering for a $3.7 million cost to Somerton.

Burzaco mentioned the contract was signed with the aid of James Ganley, former chief working officer of Fox unit Fox Pan American Sports, and was a sham meant to cover a bribe payment.

Ganley is known as as a defendant in a 2016 civil lawsuit in a Florida federal Court Docket by Florida-based soccer network GolTV, which claims that Ganley and different Fox executives paid bribes for broadcast rights. Attorneys representing Ganley in that lawsuit could not instantly be reached for remark.

Shares of Twenty First Century Fox had been down 2.Three % at $27.88 in afternoon NYSE buying and selling.

The three soccer officials on trial in Brooklyn are Juan Ángel Napout, former president of the South American soccer governing physique 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. [L1N1NJ1FN]

Prosecutors have said that the three males and other soccer officials took bribes from Sports Marketing firms in exchange for profitable Advertising and media rights to soccer tournaments. Forty-two individuals and entities have been charged within the case, of which 23 have pleaded responsible and two were sentenced.

Reporting by Brendan Pierson in NY; Modifying by using Richard Chang and Bill Trott

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