FIFA trial hears of dancing, pri­vate jet, mas­sages

The Jakarta Post - - SPORTS - Laura Bonilla Cal

A Brazil­ian busi­ness­man told a US Fed­eral Court on Wed­nes­day that he helped set up a huge bribe to South Amer­i­can foot­ball of­fi­cials to se­cure the rights for a new tour­na­ment.

Fabio Tordin tes­ti­fied in New York at the trial of three South Amer­i­can foot­ball ex­ec­u­tives charged in con­nec­tion with the largest graft scan­dal in world soc­cer his­tory.

Tordin was one of 42 peo­ple in­dicted in the FIFA cor­rup­tion mega-scan­dal. He pleaded guilty in 2015, agreed to re­turn US$600,000 and is now co­op­er­at­ing with the US gov­ern­ment against the only three ac­cused in the dock. Their trial be­gan last month. Jose Maria Marin, 85, for­mer pres­i­dent of Brazil’s Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion; for­mer FIFA vice pres­i­dent Juan An­gel Napout, 59, of Paraguay; and Manuel Burga, who led soc­cer in Peru un­til 2014, are charged with rack­e­teer­ing, wire fraud and money laun­der­ing con­spir­a­cies.

Tordin said that at a lav­ish farm on a sum­mer night in Uruguay, three other top of­fi­cials, from CONCACAF, the foot­ball fed­er­a­tion for North and Cen­tral Amer­ica and the Caribbean, ac­cepted nearly $500,000 from Ar­gen­tinian sports rights com­pany Full Play — but the tour­na­ment never saw the light of day.

Ac­cord­ing to Tordin, the deal was set up by him and Miguel Tru­jillo, a Colom­bian foot­ball con­sul­tant with links to Full Play’s own­ers, Hugo and Mar­i­ano Jinkis.

His ac­count matched Tru­jillo’s, who ear­lier told the court that he helped set up bribes be­tween Ar­gen­tine sports mar­ket­ing com­pa­nies and CONCACAF.

Tordin said that af­ter lunch­ing at the beach he, Tru­jillo, and CONCACAF bosses Al­fredo Hawit, Rafael Salguero, and Ariel Al­varado re­turned to Jinkis’ “beau­ti­ful” coun­try house.

“Full Play agreed to pay $300,000 for the of­fi­cials in ex­change for them sign­ing the doc­u­ment,” said Tordin, adding Hawit, as pres­i­dent of CONCACAF, later said he “de­served” $150,000 more — bring­ing the to­tal pay­ment to $450,000.

Later in 2011, af­ter a night of dancing and din­ing in Buenos Aires, the three CONCACAF bosses en­joyed a trip to an ul­tra-ex­clu­sive re­sort via pri­vate jet, Tordin added.

He also re­vealed hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in bribes were paid via banks in Panama to for­mer se­nior fig­ures in Hon­duran, Costa Ri­can, Sal­vado­ran and Gu­atemalan soc­cer.

Tordin said that he and Tru­jillo would some­times ex­ag­ger­ate the amounts of the bribes to their bosses at events man­age­ment com­pany Me­dia World, in or­der to keep a cut for them­selves.

AFP/Don Em­mert

Enough is enough: The Fed­eral Court­house in Brook­lyn is seen in New York where Juan Án­gel Napout of Paraguay, José Maria Marin of Brazil and Manuel Burga of Peru are on trial in the FIFA cor­rup­tion case on Nov. 15.

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