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

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

FILE IMAGE: Businessman Alejandro Burzaco (L) of Argentina arrives on the Federal Courtroom in Brooklyn, NY, September 18, 2015. REUTERS/John Taggart

The testimony got here all through the primary trial to emerge from the U.S. investigation of bribery surrounding FIFA, soccer’s world governing body.

Alejandro Burzaco, former head of Sports Advertising company Torneos y Competencias, named the businesses while being wondered by way of a prosecutor in Brooklyn federal Court Docket. Torneos and Fox Sports, a unit of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, jointly owned a Sports Activities Marketing mission, T&T Sports Advertising Ltd, in line with Burzaco.

Fox, Televisa and Globo weren’t charged via U.S. prosecutors in the case.

Televisa spokesman Olmos Cruz Alejandro said the corporate might not comment without realizing extra about the trial testimony. Fox Sports spokeswoman Terri Hynes said the company had no instant remark.

Globo denied the allegations and mentioned its interior tests didn’t in finding any unlawful funds.

Burzaco stated in Court Docket that Fox used to be informed about bribes paid to soccer officers by means of T&T.

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

Burzaco stated the contract was signed via James Ganley, former chief operating officer of Fox unit Fox Pan American Sports Activities, and used to be a sham meant to duvet bribes to individuals together with former Argentine Soccer Association president and FIFA govt Julio Humberto Grondona, who died in 2014.

Ganley is called as a defendant in a 2016 civil lawsuit in a Florida federal Court via Florida-based totally soccer network GolTV, which claims that Ganley and different Fox executives paid bribes for broadcast rights. Legal Professionals representing Ganley in that lawsuit could now not immediately be reached for remark.

Shares of Twenty First Century Fox have been down 2.3 percent at $27.88 in afternoon NYSE trading.

The three soccer officers 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.

Prosecutors have stated that the three men and different soccer officers took bribes from Sports Activities Advertising corporations in exchange for moneymaking Advertising and media rights to soccer tournaments. Forty-two people and entities have been charged within the case, of which 23 have pleaded guilty and two have been sentenced.

Reporting by using Brendan Pierson in NY, extra reporting through Tatiana Ramil in Sao Paulo; Enhancing by Bill Trott and Tom Brown

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