BROOKLYN (CN) — The former president of El Salvador’s national soccer league will serve 16 months in prison for his involvement in the sweeping FIFA bribery scandal that reached the international sports authority's highest ranks.
Reynaldo Vasquez is the latest official to receive a sentence connected to the scheme, which took down FIFA's longstanding Swiss president, Joseph "Sepp" Blatter.
Already banned from FIFA activities, Vasquez admitted to his role in the scheme in August of last year. He was extradited to the United States on charges carrying up to 20 years in prison and had initially pleaded not guilty in January 2021.
“The defendant and his co-conspirators, motivated by greed, disgraced themselves by lining their pockets with hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, at the expense of a beautiful sport, El Salvador’s soccer federation, and the community it served,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement. “Vasquez has now been held to account, like the many other corrupt soccer officials who have been exposed by the government’s investigation.”
As part of his plea, the 66-year-old Vasquez agreed to forfeit $360,000 and multiple bank accounts. Many of his co-defendants were convicted on charges stemming from the FIFA bribery scandal that blew up in 2015, when dozens of soccer executives were arrested.
Federal agents say their investigation has yielded 27 individual and four corporate guilty pleas as well as two trial convictions.
Vasquez was head of the Federación Salvadoreña de Fútbol between 2009 and 2011.
Authorities say a sports marketing company paid him and other officials from El Salvador's soccer federation bribes of $350,000 in 2012 in exchange for contracts to give the company media and marketing rights to qualifying matches leading up to the 2018 World Cup. The money from the company was wired through a U.S. bank account.
Later, the formal official was among those who received tens of thousands of dollars in additional bribes to make sure El Salvador's national team would play in friendly matches in the United States.
U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen handed down the sentence.
An attorney for Vasquez could not immediately be reached for comment.Follow @NinaPullano
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