July 4, 2020

FIFA executive arrested on cruise ship

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Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 2.15.45 PMBy Evan Perez, From CNN

U.S. prosecutors charge 16 more FIFA officials

(CNN) U.S. authorities keep finding more unceremonious ways to arrest top soccer executives from around the world.

Hector Trujillo, general secretary of Guatemala’s soccer federation and a judge on the country’s constitutional court, was hauled off a cruise ship at 6 a.m. ET Friday, to face criminal bribery charges.

He is one of 16 current and former FIFA executives charged in an indictment announced Thursday by Attorney General Loretta Lynch. In all, 41 people from soccer’s world governing body and associated marketing companies are facing charges in a sprawling criminal case that has thrown world football into crisis.

Customs and Border Protection agency officers arrested Trujillo on the ship at Port Canaveral, Florida, a popular departure point for vacationers seeking sunburns in the Caribbean.

A day earlier, Swiss Police working with the FBI, roused two top FIFA executives from their beds in a luxury hotel in Zurich before dawn. A similar fate met seven other FIFA officials in May when the first charges in the case were brought.

Kelly Langmesser, FBI spokeswoman, says Trujillo would face a judge in the Tampa federal district and then be transferred to face charges brought by the U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn.

For more on this story and video go to: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/12/04/politics/fifa-executive-arrested-on-cruise-ship/index.html

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Feds charge 16 more in ‘World Cup of Fraud’ soccer probe

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By Sue Reisinger, From Corporate Counsel

In its ever-expanding investigation of international soccer, the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday charged 16 more defendants for their roles in a $200 million-and-growing scandal involving bribes and kickbacks paid over the past 24 years.

The superseding indictment includes 92 counts of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies, among other things, as more sports-related companies are drawn into the scandal.

Richard Weber, criminal investigation chief for the Internal Revenue Service, said at the press conference that U.S. efforts are “nothing short of one of the most complex worldwide financial investigations ever conducted.” He called the scandal “the World Cup of fraud.”

Weber said so far at least 20 companies have been identified as being involved. And he said the probe is continuing into other sports marketing executives, corporations and financial institutions “that enabled or facilitated such corrupt and illegal schemes.”

U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch called the betrayal of trust involved “outrageous,” and the scope of the corruption “unconscionable.” She said investigators have followed money trails through 40 countries, including six of the seven countries making up Central America—all but Belize.

She said the “brazenness and breadth of the operation required to sustain such corruption” became an “affront to international principles.”

The new defendants include high-ranking officials of FIFA, which regulates and promotes worldwide soccer, as well as top officials of other soccer governing bodies operating under FIFA. One defendant, Hector Trujillo, is a judge on the Constitutional Court of Guatemala.

Also among those charged are Alfredo Hawit and Juan Ángel Napout, the current presidents of CONCACAF and CONMEBOL, and FIFA vice presidents and executive committee members. They were arrested by Swiss authorities in Zurich Thursday, and Lynch said the U.S. is seeking to extradite them. CONCACAF covers Central and North America and the Caribbean, while CONMEBOL covers South America.

Lynch said for two generations of soccer executives conspired with sports marketing officials and others to obtain lucrative contracts through the systematic payment of bribes and kickbacks, including in the sponsorship of the Brazilian soccer federation by a major U.S. sportswear company, and the selection of the host country for the 2010 World Cup and the 2011 FIFA presidential election.

Lynch declined to confirm earlier media reports that the sportswear company is Nike Inc. But Nike has confirmed it is cooperating with investigators looking into its sponsorship of the Brazilian national team.

Thursday’s charges came through a federal grand jury in Brooklyn. They follow indictments of 14 other defendants handed down on May 27. Lynch said Thursday that eight of the earlier defendants have come forward and agreed to plead guilty, including several corporate executives.

The company executives include:

  • José Margulies, the controlling principal of Valente Corp. and Somerton Ltd. who served as an intermediary to facilitate illicit payments between sports marketing executives and soccer officials, pleaded guilty to racketeering, wire fraud and two counts of money laundering on Nov. 25. As part of his plea, Margulies agreed to forfeit more than $9.2 million.
  • Alejandro Burzaco, the former general manager and chairman of the board of Torneos y Competencias S.A., a sports marketing company in Argentina, pleaded guilty to racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering on Nov. 16. As part of his plea, Burzaco agreed to forfeit more than $21.6 million, DOJ said.
  • Roger Huguet, the CEO of Media World and its parent company, pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering on Nov. 17. As part of his plea, Huguet agreed to forfeit more than $600,000. DOJ said a search warrant was executed Thursday at Media World, a sports marketing company based in Miami.
  • Fabio Tordin, the former CEO of Traffic Sports USA Inc. and currently an executive with Media World, pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud and tax evasion on Nov. 9. As part of his plea, Tordin agreed to forfeit more than $600,000.
  • Zorana Danis, co-founder and owner of New Jersey-based International Soccer Marketing Inc., waived indictment and pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and filing false tax returns on May 26. As part of her plea, Danis agreed to forfeit $2 million.

Lynch reiterated that the probe is still expanding, as each new defendant often implicates others. She vowed, “We are not anywhere near the end of this investigation.”

Photo: Danilo Borges / Portal de la Copa, via Wikimedia Commons

For more on this story go to: http://www.corpcounsel.com/id=1202743957742/Feds-Charge-16-More-in-World-Cup-of-Fraud-Soccer-Probe#ixzz3tZPQGes2

 

CONCACAF Executive Committee issues provisional bans

Miami (Friday, December 4, 2015)- The Confederation of North, Central America and the Caribbean Football Association (CONCACAF) today announced that in response to the U.S. Justice Department indictment issued on December 3, 2015, CONCACAF’s Executive Committee provisionally banned seven individuals from all football-related activities on a national and international level within the CONCACAF region.

In accordance with the Confederation’s Statutes, the provisional bans, which are effective immediately, will remain in place pending the results of the U.S. Justice Department investigation and until they are ratified by the Confederation’s Congress. The provisionally banned individuals are:

Alfredo Hawit (Honduras)

Ariel Alvarado (Panama)

Brayan Jimenez (Guatemala)

Hector Trujillo (Guatemala)

Rafael Callejas (Honduras)

Rafael Salguero (Guatemala)

Reynaldo Vasquez (El Salvador)

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