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Testimony: Fox Sports involved in soccer bribes

15 November 2017

A key witness in the Federation Internationale de Football Association trial testified Tuesday that major media companies - including Fox Sports - bribed officials for soccer broadcasting rights.

The FIFA corruption trial began Monday, two and a half years after the United States unveiled the largest graft scandal in the history of world soccer.

The former CEO of Argentine sports communication company Torneos, Burzaco pleaded guilty late a year ago to various charges of racketeering, money laundering, and fraud. Torneos and Fox Sports, a unit of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, jointly owned a sports marketing venture, T&T Sports Marketing Ltd, according to Burzaco.

The companies, which were not charged by USA prosecutors in the case, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. He described a series of meetings at hotels and restaurants in Buenos Aires starting in 2012 during which he helped forge deals for annual six-figure bribes for Marin, the former president of Brazil's soccer federation; Burga, the former president of Peru's soccer federation; and Napout, the former head of Paraguay's soccer federation. They say it was signed by a former Fox executive.

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Burzaco also testified Tuesday that he had personally bribed Burga, Marin, and Napout for a three- or five-year period, beginning in 2010.

Burzaco said that Grondona told him in January 2011 to also pay him Teixeria's $1m Copa America bribe, which the Brazilian "owed him" as "Grondona voted for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup".

A month later, Grondona received 1 million from Teixeira for voting for Qatar, Burzaco said.

Burzaco was asked to point out the three defendants in the courtroom while testifying that he bribed all of them.

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Ganley is named as a defendant in a 2016 civil lawsuit in a Florida federal court by Florida-based soccer network GolTV, which claims that Ganley and others paid bribes for broadcast rights.

Burzaco told jurors that he helped arrange bribes paid to all three defendants, though his testimony went far beyond that, describing corruption throughout global soccer. They asked: 'What are you doing? "The entity run by Burzaco was a subsidiary of Fox Pan American Sports, which in 2008, at the time of the contract in question, was majority owned by a private equity firm and under their operational and management control".

Fox Sports has denied accusations from a former marketing executive that it partnered with his firm to pay bribes to soccer officials to secure broadcasting rights to major soccer tournaments. "Are you the one not voting?'" he said, adding that Qatar was voted host of the 2022 World Cup after the encounter.

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Testimony: Fox Sports involved in soccer bribes