Latest FIFA Guilty Plea Comes From Former VP

     BROOKLYN (CN) – Another high-ranking FIFA executive admitted to racketeering and fraud charges Monday as the global soccer scandal centered on bribery continues to unfold.
     Alfredo Hawit, the former vice president of the Federation Internationale de Football Association, better known as FIFA, was an executive committee member of the federation, the former president of CONCACAF and the former president and general secretary of the Honduran soccer federation.
     CONCACAF is short for the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football.
     Hawit, 64, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of racketeering, two counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice before U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie in Brooklyn Federal Court. He faces up to 20 years on each count when sentenced.
     He and at least 16 other soccer officials are wrangled in the scandal that has rocked South American soccer fans after a superseding indictment against them was unsealed in December by U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
     Hawit and others charged are accused of taking bribes in exchange for the media and marketing rights to broadcast World Cup qualifier matches.
     A federal judge from Guatemala, regional officers with CONCACAF, the former Guatemalan soccer chief and other officials in South America are also caught up in the scandal.
     Former Honduras President Rafel Callejas already pleaded guilty to racketeering charges last month.
     The 72-year-old former president faces up to 20 years in prison for each of the racketeering and wire-fraud conspiracy charges against him.
     Callejas was president of the South American country from 1990 to 1994. He then served as president of that nation’s football club from 2002 to 2015.
     As for Hawit, he agreed Monday to fork over $950,000.
     According to court documents and trial proceedings, Hawit threw his weight around to pull in hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to award an Argentine sports marketing company the media and marketing rights to CONCACAF tournaments, including the Gold Cup and the Champions League.
     From 2008, he also got hundreds of thousands more dollars by using his power to award contracts to Miami-based Media World, a sports marketing company, to broadcast the Honduras team’s bids for the World Cup in 2014, 2018 and 2022.
     The money was all tucked away in foreign bank accounts to hide the conspiracy, prosecutors say.
     Hawit also scrambled to create “sham” contracts to cover his tracks after the claims against him were originally unsealed, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

%d bloggers like this: