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USA Justice Department indicts FIFA officials for Russia & Qatar World Cup bribery scandal

THE US JUSTICE DEPARTMENT has indicted several senior FIFA officials, including Executive Committee members, for allegedly taking bribes to grant Russia and Qatar the hosting rights to FIFA World Cup 2018 and 2022 respectively.

The indictment, published hours ago on the agency's website, lays out a detailed case accusing several important figures in the global footballing body of receiving millions in bribes to vote in favour of the aforementioned countries. It reads,

"In or about and between 2009 and 2010, bid committees working on behalf of various nations prepared presentations in support of bids to host either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup. Ultimately, bid committees representing Russia, England, a joint bid by Spain and Portugal and a joint bid by the Netherlands and Belgium submitted bids to host the 2018 World Cup, and bid committees representing the United States, Qatar, Japan, South Korea and Australia submitted bids to host the 2022 World Cup. On or about December 2, 2010, in Zurich, Switzerland, the FIFA executive committee selected the host sites for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, in separate rounds of voting for each edition of the tournament, with each executive committee member casting an equally weighted vote. Under the voting rules, if no bid received a majority of the votes cast, the bid receiving the fewest votes was eliminated and another vote was held. The process was repeated until one bid received an outright majority of the votes. Russia received a majority of votes in the second round of voting for the 2018 World Cup. Qatar received a majority of votes in the fourth round of voting for the 2022 World Cup. Several executive committee members were offered or received bribes in connection with their votes. For example, the defendant RICARDO TEIXEIRA, Nicolas Leoz and Co-Conspirator# 1 were offered and received bribe payments in exchange for their votes in favor of Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup. In addition, the defendant JACK WARNER was promised and received bribe payments totaling $5 million and Rafael Salguero was promised a $1 million bribe in exchange for their votes in favor of Russia to host the 2018 World Cup."

The unnamed 'Co-Conspirator #1" is described as "a high-ranking official of FIFA, CONMEBOL and AFA, the Argentinian soccer federation, which was a national member association of FIFA and CONMEBOL" whose identity is known to the Grand Jury who oversaw this process.

The 70-page indictment also names two former senior executives of 21st Century Fox, Hernan Lopez (Former President & CEO, Fox International Channels) and Carlos Martinez (Former President Latin America, Fox Networks Group), alleging corrupt activities to gain the broadcast rights to the events,

"The defendants HERNAN LOPEZ and CARLOS MARTINEZ, together with others, relied on loyalty secured through the payment of bribes to certain CONMEBOL officials in connection with the Copa Libe11adores to advance the business interests of Fox beyond the Copa Libertadores, including by obtaining confidential information from Co-Conspirator #1 regarding bidding for the rights to broadcast the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments in the United States."

The Superseding Indictment was filed in the Clerk's office of US Disctrict Court of East District of New York on March 18th, where further prosecution of the matter is expected to take place going forward. 

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