Highlights of the FIFA indictment

In case you don’t have time to read all 1xx pages of the indictment against various FIFA-ish people, here are a few items of note:

(All of the following are alleged in the indictment. All defendants are innocent until proven guilty.)

– Former CONMEBOL president Eugenio Figueredo obtained U.S. citizenship in 2006. He claimed he was exempt from the English language and civics exams because of a mental disability, specifically severe dementia. Seven years later, he was CONMEBOL president and a member of FIFA’s executive committee.

– CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb owns a residence in Loganville, Ga., along with other property in Stone Mountain and Conyers. Unless you really want to own property in Clint Mathis’ hometown, I have no idea what would possess someone from Cayman Islands to do that.

– Allegations against Jack Warner: He “established and controlled numerous bank accounts and corporate activities in which he mingled his personal assets and those of CONCACAF, CFU and (Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation).” Then “(a)mong other things, Warner began to solicit and accept bribes in connection with his official duties, including selection of the host nation for the World Cups held in 1998 and 2010.” Then there’s the condo in Miami, bought “with money drawn from an account held in the name of a soccer facility that was ostensibly affiliated with CONCACAF.”

– CONMEBOL’s Nicolas Leoz “began soliciting bribe payments” for Copa America and other things. “Co-Conspirator #2” (identified not by name but as the “founder and owner of the Traffic Group,” which would be Jose Hawilla unless someone is dramatically misidentified) then agreed to pay tens of millions in “Copa America contracts, media and marketing rights to other South American soccer tournaments, and sponsorship rights acquired by United States sportwear companies.”

– “Co-Conspirator #2” relocated to the USA and negotiated with Jack Warner to get marketing rights to the Gold Cup. Traffic got the rights to the Gold Cups from 1996 to 2003. “In connection with the acquisition and renewal of those rights, Co-Conspirator #2 and Co-Conspirator #3 together caused bribe payments to be made to Warner and Co-Conspirator #1.” (Co-Conspirator #1 is identified as the general secretary of CONCACAF from 1990 to 2011, which would be Chuck Blazer. Co-Conspirator #3 is “a high-ranking executive of Traffic USA.”)

– More Traffic bribe allegations.

– And other sports marketing groups joined the fray, including Sports Marketing Company A, a New Jersey-based company owned and operated by Co-Conspirator #5. This company got the marketing rights to the Copa Libertadores.

– When Warner and Leoz departed CONCACAF and CONMEBOL, “(t)he change in administration at CONCACAF and CONMEBOL did not usher in an era of reform at those organizations. Instead, the new leadership continued to engage in criminal schemes in violation of their fiduciary duties.”

– The Webb allegations hinge on the way Traffic got the rights to Gold Cups and CONCACAF Champions Leagues since he took office.

– Here’s a big one: “In connection with the acquisition of the media rights to the Copa América and Centenario tournaments from CONMEBOL and CONCACAF, Datisa agreed to pay $110 million in bribes to the defendants JEFFREY WEBB, EUGENIO FIGUEREDO, RAFAEL ESQUIVEL, JOSÉ MARIA MARIN, and NICOLÁS LEOZ, and several other soccer officials. Datisa agreed to make these payments at various times over the life of the contracts. At least $40 million has been paid to date.” (Datisa, we learn much later, was created in 2013, with Traffic, Torneos and Full Play each holding a one-third interest.)

– Many other tournaments’ marketing rights follow in the next several pages. The paper trail on World Cup qualifiers is interesting.

– When does this leave the realm of the Americas and into broader FIFA stuff? That would be page 80, where you won’t be surprised by what you read about Warner but perhaps a little disappointed in South Africa.

– Page 89: “In or about March 2011, Co-Conspirator #7 declared himself to be a candidate in the FIFA presidential election.” That would be a high-ranking official in FIFA and AFC. In May, that candidate was denied a visa to go into the USA, so he wound up in Trinidad and Tobago, where Warner advised Caribbean officials they could pick up a “gift.”

– Money went toward Jeffrey Webb’s pool at his house in Loganville? That’s page 98.

– For recent Gold Cup and CONCACAF Champions League rights: “Thereafter, the defendant JEFFREY WEBB and Co-Conspirator #4 discussed the best way to effectuate the bribe payment in a manner that would conceal its nature. Ultimately, WEBB decided to use an overseas company that manufactured soccer uniforms and soccer balls (“Soccer Uniform Company A”), the identity of which is known to the Grand Jury. Co-Conspirator #23, like the defendant COSTAS TAKKAS a close associate of WEBB, had a connection to Soccer Uniform Company A. WEBB eventually instructed Co-Conspirator #4 to submit a false invoice to Traffic USA for $1.1 million to be paid to Soccer Uniform Company A, which Co-Conspirator #4 did.”  (A little while later, we learn of a wire transfer to a Soccer Uniform Company A account in Panama.)

So now I’m wondering who gets the marketing rights to all these upcoming tournaments.

And what happens to this house in Loganville.

Finally, one word that appears absolutely nowhere in the 164-page document: “Blatter.”


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Beau Dure

The guy who wrote a bunch of soccer books and now runs a Gen X-themed podcast while substitute teaching and continuing to write freelance stuff.

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