Exec Says Fox Sports, Televisa Paid Bribes At FIFA Trial

Ruben Hill
November 15, 2017

The former CEO of Argentine sports communication company Torneos, Burzaco pleaded guilty late past year to various charges of racketeering, money laundering, and fraud.

Burzaco gave the testimony during the first trial.

Burzaco's testimony is part of a trial of several ex-soccer executives, who were charged as part of an worldwide investigation into corruption in global soccer.

Burzaco has already pleaded guilty to racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies after he was indicted in 2015, and has since been assisting U.S. authorities. He is one of 23 people to have pleaded guilty already. It is unclear if the alleged bribery is connected in any way to Fox's winning of US broadcast rights.

Prosecutors homed in on the activities of T&T, a sports marketing company that has, since 2002, been jointly owned by Torneos y Competencias and Fox Pan American Sports and held the rights to the tournament. Burzaco said that Fox, by paying the bribes, "gained leverage and rights to broadcast its signal to Argentina" and other parts of the world, per the AP. The court saw a contract between T&T and an entity named Somerton for $3.7m.

Burzaco said in court that Fox was told about bribes paid to soccer officials by T&T.

Alejandro Burzaco, former CEO of the firm based in Argentina, testified that Fox and other broadcasters were involved in a scheme to pay bribes through sham contracts that secured rights for the Copa America and other events.

The companies, which were not charged by USA prosecutors in the case, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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

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.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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