06 Dec 2017
A Brazilian businessman testified on Monday that he participated in a bribery scheme to buy the influence of FIFA soccer officials to win commercial rights to major tournaments, a decision he later regretted.
“I made a mistake,” Jose “Jota” Hawilla said at the U.S. conspiracy trial of three former South American soccer officials. “I committed an error, and I regret it very much.”
Hawilla, founder of the Traffic Group marketing firm, became the latest cooperator to take the witness stand after pleading guilty in the sprawling investigation of FIFA, the sport’s governing body.
Testifying in Portuguese through an interpreter, the 74-year-old witness described how his marketing business and two other firms joined forces to pay a $10 million bribe to Jeffrey Webb, then a FIFA vice president and president of CONCACAF, the governing body for soccer in North America, Central America and the Caribbean, to help secure the rights.
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