April 8, 2020

Former media and marketing executives charged with bribery in FIFA scandal

On April 6, 2020 the US Department of Justice (DOJ) unsealed a 53-count superseding indictment in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York charging 16 individuals and 1 entity with bribery and money laundering as part of the DOJ’s ongoing investigation of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and corruption in organized soccer over the past two decades.  This is the third superseding indictment in this litigation, and it added charges against two former executives of 21st Century Fox, Inc. (Fox), a former CEO of Spanish media company Imagina Media Audiovisual SL (Imagina), and Uruguayan sports marketing company Full Play Group S.A.
As alleged in the superseding indictment, for more than two decades FIFA and its six confederations—including CONCACAF (which governs soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean) and CONMEBOL (which governs soccer in South America)—engaged in various corrupt activities.  These allegedly included:  (1) the payment by the two Fox executives of millions of dollars to CONMEBOL officials to obtain confidential information used to win broadcasting rights for various soccer matches, including to secure the rights to broadcast the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments in the US; (2) the payment of $3 million by the former Imagina CEO to the president of CONCACAF to obtain a share of the media and marketing contracts awarded for home World Cup qualifying matches in the Caribbean and Central America; and (3) the participation by Full Play and its owners in numerous schemes to bribe FIFA officials to obtain media and marketing rights for various soccer events, including national team tournaments such as Copa Libertatores, and multiple editions of Copa América.  The indictment also alleges various other schemes related to the payment and acceptance of corrupt payments in relation to media contracts and marketing rights, including for FIFA’s selection of countries to host the 2018 World Cup hosted by Russia and the 2022 World Cup scheduled to be hosted by Qatar. 
The charged offenses carry maximum terms of imprisonment of 20 years in prison and, if convicted, each defendant faces mandatory fines, restitution, and forfeiture.  The first arraignments are scheduled to begin later this week.

DOJ Press Release | DOJ Indictment