Marketing group fined $1 million in FIFA corruption case

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NEW YORK (AP) – A judge ordered a sports marketing group on Monday to pay a total of $1 million in fines in the FIFA soccer scandal.

U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen fined Traffic Sports International and Traffic Sports USA at a hearing federal court in Brooklyn. The companies had been implicated in the sprawling U.S. case accusing the companies and other firms of bribing top international soccer officials in exchange for commercial rights to major tournaments.

They were each was fined $500,000. They had previously agreed to shut down operations as part of a plea agreement.

A Traffic executive, Jose Hawilla, was a key witness at the 2017 trial of three South American soccer officials accused of corruption. He told the jury that he and other marketing executives he worked with paid tens of millions of dollars over the years in bribes papered over by falsified contracts.

The Brazilian witness described how in one instance his marketing business and two other firms joined forces to pay a $10 million bribe to Jeffrey Webb, then a FIFA vice president and president of CONCACAF, the governing body for soccer in North America, Central America and the Caribbean, to help secure the rights for the Copa America in 2016. Webb has pleaded guilty to racketeering charges and is awaiting sentencing.

The jury at the trial where Hawilla testified convicted Angel Napout, former president of Paraguay’s soccer federation, and Jose Maria Marin, the former president of Brazil’s soccer federation. Manuel Burga, the former head of Peru’s soccer federation was acquitted.

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