Last week in a Brooklyn federal court, a marketing exec alleged he helped Fox Sports pay bribes in return for soccer TV rights.
The testifying witness, Alejandro Burzaco, was formerly head of a marketing company called T&T Sports Marketing Ltd., which was jointly-owned by Fox Sports. While in this role, Burzaco alleged he helped facilitate a $3.7 million contract between T&T and Somerton Corp., which was actually a cover for bribes related to securing TV rights.
These bribes were paid to the three soccer officials now on trial in Brooklyn, specifically Juan Ángel Napout, former president of CONMEBOL and Paraguay’s soccer federation; Manuel Burga, former president of Peru’s soccer federation; and José Maria Marin, former president of Brazil’s soccer federation. In exchange for these bribes Fox Sports was awarded coverage of soccer tournaments, though it remains unclear at this point whether Fox Sports itself will face charges.
Prosecutors introduced the $3.7 million contract into evidence, and it would appear the FIFA corruption saga is only getting heated up in terms of criminal convictions.
Burzaco not only testified about the bribes related to TV coverage, but also separate bribes related to helping Qatar secure the 2022 World Cup. The NY Times reported that Burzaco named the bribed parties in the Qatar case as three officials on FIFA’s executive committee: Julio Humberto Grondona, Nicolas Leoz, and Ricardo Teixeira.
There have been rumblings related to bribery and corruption related to the Qatar World Cup ever since the country was named as a host. This testimony will likely only increase pressure to rescind the decision to hold the event there.