Global media paid bribes, Federation Internationale de Football Association trial hears

People wak past the Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn where the FIFA trial is talking place

People wak past the Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn where the FIFA trial is talking place

A prosecution witness in the US corruption trial of three former soccer officials testified on Tuesday that Fox Sports, Mexico's Grupo Televisa and Brazil's Globo paid bribes to secure television rights for soccer matches.

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.

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, Televisa in Mexico and Globo Comunicacao and Participacoes SA in Brazil did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The three soccer officials 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.

He also told how they were paid for their votes on the executive committee for choosing hosts of the World Cup.

"They had presidential or diplomatic or royal treatment", Burzaco testified. The marketing executive said Grondona personally approved the bribes he and five other senior Conmebol officials were paid for regional tournament rights, often dictating the amounts - frequently seven-figure sums - and taking cuts for himself.


When Leoz failed to vote for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup at Federation Internationale de Football Association headquarters in December 2010, Teixeira and Grondona rounded on him, Burzaco testified.

Burzaco was asked to point out the three defendants in the courtroom while testifying that he had bribed all of them.

Burzaco would frequently travel with Grondona from Argentina to Conmebol's headquarters in Luque in Paraguay, where "three or four Mercedes" would wait for them by the runway and take them straight from the plane, allowing them to skip customs, as "someone would take care of that".

Burzaco testified that one top official for the broadcaster signed a phony contract designed only to cover up payment of $3.7 million in bribes.

Burzaco told jurors that he helped arrange bribes paid to all three defendants, though his testimony went far beyond that, describing corruption throughout worldwide soccer. The statement says Fox Sports "had no operational control" of Burzaco's company. They asked: 'What are you doing? "Are you the one not voting for Qatar?"

Fox Sports has denied accusations from a former marketing executive that it partnered with his firm to pay bribes to soccer officials to secure broadcasting rights to major soccer tournaments.

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