U.S. Authorities Extends Investigation on FIFA Corruption Case to Banks and Sponsors
Apr 18, 2016 09:43 AM EDT
U.S. investigation of corruption scandal on international soccer organization has extended to its multinational endorsement. At least 11 multinational companies and banks were under scrutiny for bribery. While on Monday, ex-FIFA vice president pleaded guilty to bribery charges.
Wall Street Journal reported that the investigation is now focusing on the role of FIFA's multinational sponsors, broadcasters and banks in facilitating alleged soccer corruption. At least 11 companies has been prompted to conduct internal investigation in relation to the bribery charges in FIFA, and U.S. officials expected to reach settlement with some of them within the next year.
Nevertheless, progress moved slowy, mainy because it involves more than a dozen foreign countries and clouded corporate structures. The investigations aim to seek for individuals and entity which accused of participating in a $200 million bribery scheme. Prosecutors alleged that the scheme had been designed to win media and sponsorship rights to lucrative soccer tournaments.
According to public fillings, companies which are prompted to conduct investigation include Nike Inc., AT&T's DirecTV, 21st Century Fox, KPMG, Citibank, HSBC Holdings PLC, Standard Chartered PLC, Credit Suisse, UBS Group, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Julius Baer Group.
The U.S. Department of Justice has centered its allegation on FIFA officials and its regional affiliates. Prosecutor seek for the evidence of bribes which FIFA officials took from executives at sports-marketing firms for the licensing rights to tournaments like the World Cup qualifiers. According to Dow Jones Business News, Seventeen of the of 42 people who were publicly charged have pleaded guilty.
The latest person who pleaded guilty was Alfredo Hawit, a former FIFA vice president from Honduras. He was leading the North and Central America and Caribbean confederation, CONCACAF. Reuters reported that Hawit pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, to four conspiracy charges. Those charges are racketeering conspiracy, two counts of wire fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Alfredo Hawit also admitted in front of the court to have received hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from two sports marketing companies. Speaking in Spanish, he said the companies were seeking media rights for soccer matches and tournaments.
"I knew it was wrong for me to accept such undisclosed payments," he said through a translator.
As many layers have been uncovered, U.S. Authorities now shifted focus to relationship between sport marketing companies and the companies who purchased media and sponsorship rights. The case is handled by the Brooklyn U.S. attorney's office, which now receives help from the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, DC. There are more than a dozen prosecutors are working on the cases.
Investigation of corruption and bribery scandal on international soccer organization has extended to multinational sponsorship. Previously, ex-FIFA vice president pleaded guilty to bribery charges. The U.S. Department of Justice now expand the investigation to seek for individuals and entities who participated in a $200 million bribery scheme.