Fifagate: a former executive of 21th Century Fox faces 40 years in prison for corruption

Fifagate: ex-21st Century Fox executive faces 40 years in prison for corruption


A former executive of the television group 21th Century Fox faces 40 years in prison in the United States after being found guilty Thursday by a New York court of corruption of South American soccer executives, an offshoot of the “Fifagate” scandal. 

After nearly two months of trial in federal court in Brooklyn, Hernan Lopez was found guilty of fraud, laundering and paying bribes to FIFA and FIFA Confederation executives. South America (Conmebol), according to a US court statement.

An Argentinian marketing company, Full Play, was also found guilty of the same charges, but found to be a corporate entity corrupting executives of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Football (Concacaf).

It was a question of obtaining the television rights of the Copa Libertadores and of meetings, friendly and qualifying, of national teams of the Americas for international competitions.

“Today's verdict sounds like a victory for justice and fans of football fans around the world. The defendants cheated by corrupting football officials, acting for their own greedy interests rather than for the best interests of the sport,” said the federal prosecutor for the New York federal jurisdiction of Brooklyn, Breon Peace.

During the proceedings, Argentinian businessman Alejandro Burzaco testified as a witness after pleading guilty to involvement in the corruption scandal that stained FIFA in 2015 under the Sepp Blatter era.< /p>

He had accused Mr. Lopez and his colleague at 21th Century Fox, Carlos Martinez, of having paid between “30 and 32 million dollars” in bribes.

Mr. Martinez, on the other hand, was acquitted, a spokeswoman for the Brooklyn court said Thursday evening.

Mr. Lopez risks being sentenced at a later date to “40 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines”, according to the Brooklyn court. Full Play also faces a financial fine of millions of dollars.

Prosecution witness, Mr. Burzaco, testified in January in court that bribes had been budgeted to the tune of 60 million dollars, but that the bursting of FIFAgate in 2015 had interrupted the payments.