Football: global media paid bribes, FIFA trial hears

In US federal court, he detailed how his Torneos y Competencias S.A. company paid millions of dollars in bribes to South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) executives for more than a decade to secure television rights to major tournaments.

Bribes were sent by wire transfer to Swiss bank accounts or passed on as cash “in bags or envelopes,” Burzaco added.

Fox Pan American Sports, part of 21st Century Fox, Brazil’s TV Globo, Argentine group Full Play and Spain’s MediaPro were among those who paid — all partners of Torneos y Competencias.

Fox Sports’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

The FIFA corruption trial began Monday, two and a half years after the United States unveiled the largest graft scandal in the history of world soccer.

Three South American defendants are in the dock, charged with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies.

They are Jose Maria Marin, ex-head of Brazil’s Football Confederation, former FIFA vice president Juan Angel Napout, who was elected president of CONMEBOL in 2014, and Manuel Burga, who led soccer in Peru until 2014.

Burzaco said he bribed all three defendants, alleging that Marin received payments of 300,000, going up to 450,000 a year.

The trial is due to last five to six weeks, and prosecutors are expected to present hundreds of thousands of pages of evidence and dozens of witnesses.

If convicted by a jury, they risk up to 20 years behind bars for the most serious offenses.

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