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Sixteen officials indicted as Fifa crisis rumbles on

By Matthew Campelli    04 Dec 2015
A total of 41 individuals and entities have been charged since the investigation opened in May / Ugis Riba/Shutterstock.com

The US authorities have charged 16 additional Fifa officials with fraud and money laundering offences, bringing the total number of individuals and entities charged to date up to 41.

Washington’s Department of Justice (DoJ) released the names of the officials – all from the CONCACAF and CONMEBOL confederations – following the arrest of their respective presidents Alfredo Hawit and Juan Angel Napout yesterday morning (3 December).

The group includes CONCACAF’s Ariel Alvarado, Rafael Callejas, Brayan Jimenez, Rafael Salguero, Hector Trujillo and Reynaldo Vasquez, as well as CONMEBOL’s Manuel Burga, Carlos Chavez, Luis Chiriboga, Marco Polo del Nero, Eduardo Deluca, Jose Luis Meiszner, Romer Osuna and Ricardo Teixeira.

They make up part of the 27 indicted defendants alleged to have “engaged in a number of schemes designed to solicit and receive well over US$200m (£132m, €184m) in bribes and kickbacks”.

Fifa said it was would “fully co-operate” with the authorities through their investigations.

According to the DoJ, the new charges brings the total number of individuals and entities charged up to 41 since the investigation was opened in May, with 12 individuals and two sports marketing companies agreeing to pay US$190m (£126m, €175m) in forfeiture after being convicted.

The “superseding 92-count” indictment, including those of the 16 new defendants, allege “various criminal activities including fraud, bribery and money laundering” from 1991 through to the present day.

The new allegations refer specifically to a series of bribery schemes in connection with Fifa World Cup Qualifiers and international friendly matches involving six Central American member associations; a bribery scheme relating to the sale of broadcasting rights to the Copa Libertadores; and a scheme by an Argentine sports marketing company to obtain various rights by paying bribes to three Central American football officials.

In addition, the DoJ revealed that eight of the defendants had pleaded guilty, agreeing to forfeit more than US$40m (£26m, €37m).

These include co-founder of International Soccer Marketing, Zorana Danis; former chief executive of Traffic Sports USA, Fabio Tordin; former CONMEBOL vice president Luis Bedoya; Argentine sports marketer, Alejandro Burzaco; chief executive of Media World, Roger Huguet; former Fifa vice president Jeffrey Webb; former CONMEBOL vice president Sergio Jadue; Jose Marguiles, controlling principal of Valente Corp.

Attorney general Lynch said the DoJ was “committed to ending the rampant corruption we have alleged amidst the leadership of international soccer”.

“The message from this announcement should be clear to every culpable individual who remains in the shadows, hoping to evade our investigation: You will not wait us out. You will not escape our focus,” she added.

The investigation continues.

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