26 Oct 2017
The United States has jailed the first individual involved in the FIFA bribery investigation, and stated that it will take strong action against those abusing its banks.
Former Guatemalan judge and FIFA official Héctor Trujillo has been sentenced to eight months in the US for pocketing bribes and kickbacks.
Trujillo pleaded guilty to two wire fraud-related crimes related to over $400,000 in bribes and kickbacks that he and other Guatemalan soccer officials received regarding the sale of broadcast rights to World Cup qualifier matches.
He has agreed to forfeit $175,000 of the nearly $200,000 of these illegal payments that he personally received.
To facilitate the hidden payment of these bribes, Trujillo had made use of an acquaintance who lived in the US and owned an American construction business, according to a statement from the US Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York.
He then directed an executive from American sports marketing company Media World to wire the $200,000 in bribe money to the construction company’s US bank account.
“To hide the true nature of the bribe payment, the conspirators fabricated a sham contract for construction services between the construction company and a Media World affiliate,” the statement explained, “Trujillo’s associate transferred most of this money to a bank account in Guatemala, where Trujillo could withdraw it.”
Bridget M. Rohde, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said: “This Office and its law enforcement partners at the FBI and IRS will continue to vigorously pursue those who would use leadership positions to engage in corruption, especially when it involves the U.S. banking system.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “They used their positions and power to use bribes and kickbacks to satiate their greed. This conviction shows we’re not done with our work, and the FBI, Eastern District, IRS and our law enforcement partners won’t stop pursuing those who are abusing the system.”
The US corruption probe into FIFA has drawn guilty pleas from several individuals and agencies since 2015. Switzerland has also launched an investigation.
-By KYC360 News
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