Culture&Arts

Testimony: Fox Sports paid bribes to win soccer tourney rights

Testimony: Fox Sports paid bribes to win soccer tourney rights

The three soccer officials on trial in Brooklyn are Juan Ángel Napout, former president of the South American soccer governing body 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.

An Argentine businessman has claimed multiple major media companies paid bribes in exchange for soccer TV rights as part of the larger Federation Internationale de Football Association corruption scandal.

Burzaco's testimony is part of a trial of several ex-soccer executives, who were charged as part of an worldwide investigation into corruption in global soccer.

The three men are now standing trial in Brooklyn federal court on charges of wire fraud, racketeering, and money laundering. Forty-two people and entities have been charged in the case, of which 23 have pleaded guilty and two have been sentenced.

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The court heard how Burzaco had paid regular bribes, often six-figure sums, primarily to six senior officials of the South American football governing body, Conmebol, in exchange for the broadcast rights to the Copa Libertadores, South America's premier global club competition.

Burzaco said Fox Sports wanted to use "the TV rights to expand its Fox signal in all of the Americas, from Argentina to the US".

T&T, Burzaco said, had created a sham company to pay out the one off cash sums.

Burzaco gave the testimony during the first trial. Prosecutors showed that contract to the court and said it was signed by former Fox Sports executive James Ganley, according to the Associated Press . Burzaco had earlier told the court that Fox had become the majority owner of T&T in 2005. Fox Sports spokeswoman Terri Hynes said the company had no immediate comment.


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