November 18, 2017

FIFA Trial: Fox Sports Accused of Playing Role in Bribing Officials


Fox Sports denied any involvement in bribery in a statement issued late Tuesday. The statement said Burzaco’s company was a subsidiary of Fox Pan American Sports, which at the time was under the control of a private-equity firm.

“Any suggestion that Fox Sports knew of or approved of any bribes is emphatically false,” the statement said. “Fox Sports had no operational control of the entity with Burzaco ran.”

Burzaco said other media companies, including Traffic, Televisa, Media Pro, TV Globo and Full Play Argentina, had all paid bribes for soccer rights as well. In a statement, Globo vehemently denied making bribes and said it was willing to cooperate with United States authorities.

The testimony came on the second day of the trial of three former South American soccer officials accused of taking bribes in a sprawling corruption investigation of FIFA, the sport’s governing body. Burzaco, the former head of Torneos and Competencias who has pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and other charges, has emerged as a key witness against José Maria Marin, Manuel Burga and Juan Ángel Napout.

The former officials, who have pleaded not guilty, are the first to face trial in the investigation. They are accused of taking part in a scheme spanning 24 years and involving at least $150 million in bribes. More than 40 other officials have pleaded guilty in hopes of receiving reduced sentences.

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