October 27, 2020

U.S. marketer Aaron Davidson pleads guilty in FIFA corruption case

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From ESPN

Florida businessman Aaron Davidson pleaded guilty in New York to conspiracy charges on Thursday in a scheme to pay bribes to high-ranking football officials in exchange for media and marketing rights to international tournaments and matches.

The 45-year-old entered the plea in Brooklyn federal court. Sentencing before U.S. District Judge Pamela K. Chen was set for April 24, when Davidson could face decades in prison. As part of his plea, he agreed to forfeit more than a half-million dollars.

Davidson was arrested last year in the probe after prosecutors said officials accepted $150 million in bribes over a 24-year period in exchange for rigging bids for lucrative marketing rights.

Davidson ran a Miami-based marketing firm. He was arrested along with more than a dozen other people in a case prosecuted in the on the grounds that illegal payments used U.S. banks and those involved conducted meetings in the United States.

Prosecutors said Davidson negotiated and agreed to make bribe payments totaling more than $14 million, executing multiple criminal schemes, including the agreement to pay bribes to a high-ranking official of FIFA, , the Caribbean Football Union and one of FIFA’s national member associations.

The government said the bribes were paid to secure lucrative media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments and matches for his company, Traffic USA, and its business partners.

Prosecutors said those sports events included FIFA World Cup qualifiers, the CONCACAF Gold Cup and the CONCACAF Champions League, among others.

The government said its investigation continues.

For more on this story go to: http://www.espnfc.com/blog/fifa/243/post/2977470/us-marketer-aaron-davidson-pleads-guilty-in-fifa-corruption-case

EDITOR: Cayman Islands ex disgraced CONCACAF president Jeff Webb is alleged to have been one of the persons who received bribes from Davidson. Another sports marketing company, Datisa, is also part of the indictment where it is alleged the company was to pay $110 million in bribes to a number of officials and to Mr. Webb to gain the commercial rights to one of the world’s most prestigious tournaments, the Copa America, the South American championship.

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