FIFA Corruption scandal: Three top officials plead guilty

Former FIFA vice-president, Jeffrey Webb Photo credits:

More shocking revelations have continued to emerge from the world football governing body, FIFA, following investigations launched by the United States into the affairs of the football house.

The latest indictment is coming as a U.S. judge has released the transcripts of three prominent defendants expressing regret and submitting that bribery was rife.

The three prominent names out of 40, whose transcripts were released, are former FIFA vice-president, Jeffrey Webb, Argentinean-Italian marketing executive, Alejandro Burzaco, and Brazilian intermediary, Jose Margulies.

Earlier, U.S. prosecutors accused 40 FIFA officials of receiving tens of millions of dollars in bribes, kickbacks and money-laundering.

The three accused, who are under house arrest in the U.S., are expected to be sentenced for corruption in New York in June. All the three accused regreted their involvement in the scandal and admitted bribery was widespread in FIFA.

Webb, in his guilty plea statement, admitted that he misused his position in FIFA for personal benefits.

He also revealed that he received bribes for the sale of commercial rights for the FIFA World Cup 2018, which is supposed to be held in Russia and also for FIFA World Cup qualifying matches for the 2022 edition.

Webb also received payments for the same in 2012, 2013 and 2014, including the Copa America Centenario tournament.

“I abused my position to obtain bribes and kickbacks for my personal benefit. I believed that such offers were common in this business. I deeply regret my participation in this illegal conduct,” Webb was quoted as saying by AFP.

Complaints were made against Webb that he was leading a life of a millionaire during his house arrest in the US.

The 51-year-old Burzaco paid tens of millions of dollars of bribes and kickbacks to secure marketing rights for various tournaments.

“Torneos and I profited from these payments directly and indirectly by securing these rights. I was wrong,” Burzaco admitted in his statement.

Fifteen other officials have also pleaded guilty in front of the court and all of them have agreed to cooperate with the prosecutors so that they get a reduced sentence.

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Tunde Eludini is a graduate of the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Nigeria where he studied International Relations. He is a Senior Correspondent coordinating the sports section for PREMIUM TIMES. Twitter@tundeyeludini

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