New York: A former FIFA match agent's confession that he helped pay big bribes to football officials in Central America and the Caribbean promises to fan the flames of the scandal rocking the game's beleaguered world body.
Former FIFA agent Miguel Trujillo. Pic/AFP
Miguel Trujillo, a 65-year-old Colombian in the US, yesterday pleaded guilty in a New York federal court to four counts of money laundering, wire fraud and a falsified tax return. He also dropped detailed bombshells against the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), that — while not naming names — could challenge the not-guilty pleas entered by CONCACAF current and former officials and others indicted.
The United States last year accused senior FIFA members and associated figures — most from Latin America — of massive corruption using, among other nefarious means, wire fraud and money laundering.
Many have been hauled before US courts but only a handful have entered guilty pleas. Some of those indicted are on bail or under house arrest pending trial, while others have yet to be arrested or extradited.
Bribes for media rights
Trujillo, a football consultant and FIFA-licensed match agent, worked with Media World and Traffic Sports USA, two events management companies implicated in securing lucrative broadcast and marketing contracts through bribes to FIFA officials. Match agents arrange games between teams belonging to different confederations.
Trujillo said that, between 2008 and 2015, bribes were paid to officials in three federations belonging to the Central American Football Union (UNCAF) to obtain marketing rights for qualifying games for 2014 World Cup, Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.
According to his testimony, Trujillo said: "I agreed that Media World would pay, and helped Media World to pay, bribes to high-ranking officials at these federations."