Former FIFA executive Alfredo Hawit pleads guilty to corruption charges
Apr 12, 2016 08:28 AM EDT
Former FIFA vice president Alfredo Hawit pleaded guilty on Monday to four charges of corruption, which include his involvement in a conspiracy to obstruct justice and wire fraud conspiracy.
Hawit admitted in a Brooklyn District Court to having negotitated and accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes for the sale of marketing rights to soccer tournaments since 2008. He admitted to arranging marketing rights for companies in Florida and Argentina in exchange for cash deposited directly to banks administered by him and his family in Panama and Honduras.
According to The Guardian, he pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and two counts of wire fraud.
Each count to which he is convicted carries a penalty of 20 years in prison. Hawit has also agreed to pay the United States $950,000 upon sentencing.
"I knew that it was wrong of me to accept such payments," Hawit said in court, as quoted by ESPN FC.
Alfredo Hawit is the 17th of the 42 defendants to be convicted in the United States Justice Department's ongoing investigation into the massive corruption in international football.
The New York Times reported that Hawit took over the leadership in CONCACAF after its former president, Jeffrey Webb, was indicted in May and later pleaded guilty to similar corruption charges. The CONCACAF is one of FIFA's six regional confederations, which covers soccer in North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
Six months after assuming Webb's seat, Hawit was arrested in Zurich in, coincidentally, the same five-star hotel where his predecessor was arrested.
The $950,000 that Hawit has agreed to pay is part of the more than $200 million that the 17 convicted defendants have promised to forfeit to authorities.
During a bail hearing in January, Hawit estimated his network to be $2 million. Majority of his money was either tied to properties that were under mortgage or held in his wife's name. Prosecutors suggested that he didn't fully declare his assets, adding that he might have hidden the bribe money in an offshore bank account in Panama under his wife's name.