Ex-CEO de­tails Cup TV bribes

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - SCOREBOARD -

Fox Sports part­nered with a South Amer­i­can mar­ket­ing firm to make mil­lions of dol­lars in bribes to top soc­cer of­fi­cials in ex­change for lu­cra­tive broad­cast­ing rights to ma­jor tour­na­ments, the mar­ket­ing com­pany’s for­mer CEO tes­ti­fied Tues­day at a U.S. cor­rup­tion trial.

Ale­jan­dro Burzaco, for­mer CEO of the firm based in Ar­gentina, tes­ti­fied that Fox and other broad­cast­ers were in­volved in a scheme to pay bribes — con­cealed us­ing off­shore side en­ti­ties and sham con­tracts — that se­cured rights for the Copa Amer­ica and other events.

As ev­i­dence of the scheme, pros­e­cu­tors at the trial at a fed­eral court in New York City pro­duced a 2008 agree­ment for the part­ner­ship to pay $3.7 mil­lion to a hold­ing com­pany in Turks and Caicos that was an al­leged con­duit for the bribes. They say it was signed by a for­mer Fox ex­ec­u­tive.

Asked whom he kept in­formed about the bribe ar­range­ments, Burzaco re­sponded, “Fox Pan Amer­i­can Sports. Fox Sports.” U.S., Por­tu­gal tie: We­ston McKen­nie needed lit­tle time to make an im­pact for a U.S. team start­ing a five-year wait un­til its next chance to play in the World Cup. The 19-year-old mid­fielder from Texas scored 21 min­utes into his na­tional-team de­but, a 1-1 tie against host Por­tu­gal in the Amer­i­cans’ first match since fail­ing to qual­ify for next year’s World Cup. The U.S. used eight starters 24 or younger in Dave Sarachan’s first match as in­terim coach. World Cup: Den­mark qual­i­fied for next year’s World Cup af­ter Chris­tian Erik­sen scored a su­perb hat trick in a 5-1 vic­tory over Ire­land in their play­off in Dublin. Next year’s tour­na­ment in Rus­sia will be Den­mark’s fifth World Cup ap­pear­ance and first since 2010.

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