Florida company pleads guilty in NY to soccer bribery
NEW YORK, NY – A Florida media company pleaded guilty Tuesday to bribing soccer officials and agreed, with its Spanish parent company, to pay more than $24 million in fines, the latest scalps in a sweeping US prosecution of FIFA corruption.
Imagina US pleaded guilty over bribes to senior officials of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) and four Central American soccer federations to secure media and marketing rights to World Cup qualifier matches.
Imagina US agreed to forfeit $5.28 million in criminal proceeds before a federal court in Brooklyn, New York, US prosecutors announced.
Tuesday’s plea was heard by Judge Pamela Chen, who presided over the trial that convicted two ex-heads of Latin American football federations – including Costa Rica’s Eduard Li – after the United States unveiled the largest graft scandal in the history of world soccer.
Imagina US was sentenced to pay $3 million in restitution to the CFU, $1.7 million to the Honduran soccer federation, $790,000 to Guatemala’s, $600,000 to Costa Rica’s and $565,000 to El Salvador’s.
The company was also sentenced to pay a fine of $12.88 million, which parent company, Barcelona-based Imagina Media, agreed to pay on its behalf as part of a non-prosecution agreement over the involvement of one of its co-CEOs.
Executives used false invoices and contracts to disguise bribes and transmitted payments through third countries in a bid to evade detection, officials said.
One of Imagina Media’s three co-CEOs agreed to pay half a $3 million bribe that sports marketing company Traffic USA had previously agreed to pay Jeffrey Webb, a former FIFA vice president.
Webb was one of the first people arrested in May 2015 as part of the sweeping US indictment of FIFA officials. He pleaded guilty in an American court to fraud, money-laundering and racketeering, and agreed to forfeit $6.7 million
You may be interested
Police repress Independence Day demonstrations in HondurasAFP and The Tico Times - September 16, 2019
Hundreds of Honduran police officers attacked with tear gas more than 1,000 people marching in parallel to Sunday's parade organized…
System failure causes power outage through much of Central AmericaAFP and The Tico Times - September 16, 2019
A failure in a regional electrical interconnection system on Monday caused a blackout in Honduras and Nicaragua, and partially affected…
Watch: An Independence Day message of hope for Costa RicaAlejandro Zúñiga - September 16, 2019
President Carlos Alvarado on Sunday shared a message of hope in honor of Costa Rica's Independence Day. Watch the video…