Corruption at FIFA: ex-Conmebol leaders received several million dollars in bribes

Several former leaders of Conmebol, the South American Football Confederation, have touched between “$30 and $32 million“in bribes as part of FIFAgate, an Argentinian businessman said during the trial of former Fox executives which opened in Brooklyn on Wednesday.

Alejandro Burzaco testifies as a witness after pleading guilty to involvement in the corruption scandal that rocked the International Football Federation (FIFA) in 2015 under the Sepp Blatter era.

He explained in court that he and two former Fox television executives, Hernan Lopez and Carlos Martinez, paid bribes through the T&T Cayman company, in the amount of between “$30 and $32 million“, in order to obtain the rights to broadcast the Copa Libertadores and meetings of national teams, friendly and qualifying for international competitions.

MM. Lopez and Martinez as well as Full Play, a South American company, are tried for corruption, fraud and money laundering.

Burzaco said bribes had been budgeted to the tune of $60m, but the Fifagate outbreak in 2015 halted payouts.

Six main beneficiaries

The main beneficiaries of these bribes, he further claimed, were six of Conmebol’s most powerful leaders at the time, including its former president, Nicolas Leoz, who died in 2019, the Argentinian Julio Grondona, former president of the Argentine Football Federation who died in 2014, and Ricardo Texeira, the former president of the Brazilian Football Federation.

MM. Leoz, Grondona and Teixeira were also members of the FIFA Executive Committee when it decided in 2010 to award the organization of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and in Qatar. The procedures for awarding these two World Cups are now questionable.

Other recipients of the bribes, Burzaco said, are Conmebol’s former vice president Eugenio Figueredo, its former general secretary, Eduardo Deluca, and its former treasurer, Romer Osuna. “We corrupted all these gentlemen and I was part of this plan“, assured Mr. Burzaco.

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