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Soccer-Key witness in FIFA corruption probe to be sentenced in U.S By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Businessman Alejandro Burzaco (C) of Argentina leaves the Federal Court in Brooklyn, New York, September 18, 2015. REUTERS/John Taggart

By Luc Cohen

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A former Argentine businessmen whose testimony contributed to the U.S. convictions of South American soccer officials and a television executive in the sprawling investigation into corruption at FIFA is set to be sentenced on Friday.

Alejandro Burzaco, the former head of Argentine sports marketing company Torneos y Competencias, pleaded guilty in 2015 to three counts of racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in Brooklyn.

Neither the details of his plea agreement¬†nor prosecutors’ recommended sentence are public. U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen is expected to determine Burzaco’s sentence at a hearing in Brooklyn federal court starting at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT).

Burzaco, 58, admitted to paying bribes and kickbacks to officials at world soccer governing body FIFA and regional affiliates for marketing rights to tournaments including the World Cup and Copa America. He has also said that Qatar bribed FIFA officials to host the 2022 World Cup, which the Middle Eastern country denies.

His plea stemmed from a sweeping probe of corruption in global soccer that has resulted in scores of convictions since U.S. and international authorities made their first arrests in 2015.

At a trial in 2017, Burzaco told jurors that he paid bribes to Juan Angel Napout, the former head of South American governing body CONMEBOL, former Brazilian soccer chief Jose Maria Marin, and former Peru soccer federation president Manuel Burgato to secure rights to matches.

Napout and Marin were convicted and Burgato was found not guilty.

Burzaco also testified at the trial this year of Hernan Lopez and Carlos Martinez, two former 21st Century Fox executives accused of bribing soccer officials for broadcasting rights. Lopez and sports marketing company Full Play Group SA were convicted and Martinez was acquitted.



This story originally appeared on Investing

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