Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
Alejandro Burzaco, a key prosecution witness in the FIFAGate trial of three former international football bosses, has told a New York court of a US$15 million bribe to the late Julio Humberto Grondona. The former CEO of Argentinian media agency TyC was giving evidence on the third day of the trial of Jose Marin (Brazil), Manuel Burga (Peru) and Juan Angel Napout (Paraguay) who all deny corruption charges arising from the corruption investigation.
Burzaco said that Mexico’s Televisa, Brazil’s Globo and United States channel Fox Sports had all been involved in the bribery of Grondona, a powerful FIFA and Argentinian executive who died in 2014, for TV rights to the 2026 and 2030 World Cups.* The deal had been agreed at a meeting with Grondona in Zurich in 2013.
Burzaco added said that his company and its partners had also paid a total of $4.5 million in bribes to Napout, $2.7 million to Marin and $3.6 million to Burga to secure rights for tournaments, and they promised millions more to each in future payments. On Tuesday Burzaco told the jury how Grondona, who died in 2014, claimed in several conversations that he was owed millions of dollars for his 2010 vote as a member of FIFA’s executive committee that helped Qatar land the 2022 World Cup.
Burzaco also suggested that FIFA bidding rules were broken by a vote-trading pact between Qatar and the Spain-Portugal bid for 2018. After Qatar’s vote victory, beating the United States in a final round ballot, unproven allegations were made that Qatar paid the Grondona-led Argentinian federation tens of millions of dollars. Napout is a former president of the South American governing body CONMEBOL and Paraguay’s soccer federation; Burga is a former president of Peru’s federation; and Marin is a former president of Brazil’s CBF.
Before the close of the hearing for the day, Judge Patricia Chen tightened the bail controls on Burga after Burzaco complained that the Peruvian had made ‘throat-slitting’ gestures to him while he was giving evidence. Judge Chen cut off Burga’s access to phones and computers and placed him under restricted house arrest at a home in Brooklyn. Burga already had been on GPS monitoring but had some a time-limit privilege to leave the premises. Burzaco also claimed that his family had warned him of credible threats to his life back in Argentina.
** Spokesmen for Televisa, Globo and Fox have all denied paying bribes while Humberto Grondona, son of Julio Grondona, has denied that his father was guilty of arranging and taking bribes.
• This article was originally published on Keir Radnedge’s internet site on 15 November 2017. To access the original, please click here.
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