Ex-CEO de­tails Cup TV bribes

San Francisco Chronicle - - SCOREBOARD -

Fox Sports part­nered with a South Amer­i­can mar­ket­ing firm to make mil­lions of dol­lars in bribes to high-rank­ing 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.”

The tes­ti­mony came on the sec­ond day of the U.S. trial of three for­mer South Amer­i­can soc­cer of­fi­cials ac­cused of tak­ing bribes in a sprawl­ing cor­rup­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tion of FIFA, the sport’s gov­ern­ing body. Burzaco, who has pleaded guilty to rack­e­teer­ing con­spir­acy and other charges, has emerged as a key wit­ness against Jose Maria Marin, Manuel Burga and Juan An­gel Napout. 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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