Sun | Aug 14, 2022

US government distributes US$92m for corruption victims

Published:Friday | July 1, 2022 | 12:12 AM
FIFA President Gianni Infantino answers questions during a 2026  World Cup news conference Thursday, June 16, 2022, in New York.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino answers questions during a 2026 World Cup news conference Thursday, June 16, 2022, in New York.

NEW YORK (AP):

The US Justice Department has distributed about $92 million in additional compensation from money forfeited by convicted officials and associated companies resulting from the government’s prosecution of corruption in football.

The money is for compensation for losses sustained by FIFA, the Confederation of North and Central American and Caribbean Football, the South American governing body CONMEBOL ,and various national football federations.

The Justice Department last August recognised losses of more than US$201 million in the cases, which began with indictments in May 2015, and it announced then an initial US$32.2 million payment to a “World Football Remission Fund” overseen by the FIFA Foundation charity.

FIFA’s charity supports school projects, helps the sport recover after natural disasters, develops women’s and girls’ football, and a FIFA Legends programme that uses former players as ambassadors. The money was obtained in forfeitures to federal court in Brooklyn.

More than 50 people and corporate entities have been charged, mostly for giving and receiving bribes and kickbacks and laundering payments in arrangements between sports marketing companies and football officials for media and marketing rights to football events.

Twenty-seven individuals and four corporate entities have pleaded guilty, Former CONMEBOL President Juan Ángel Napout and former Brazilian Football Confederation President José Maria Marin, who was the head of Brazil’s organising committee for the 2014 World Cup, were convicted in December 2017, and banks have acknowledged roles in criminal conduct through deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements.

“Over much of the past decade, this investigation and prosecution has concentrated on bringing wrongdoers to justice and recovering ill-gotten gains,” Breon Peace, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement yesterday. “Our office, working in collaboration with our law enforcement partners and colleagues in the Department of Justice, will continue our work to compensate victims of crime.”