Longtime FIFA Bribery Detailed in Unsealed Doc


     (CN) – Outside the gaze of the press and public, ex-FIFA executive committee member Charles Blazer walked into a Brooklyn courthouse two years ago to admit lining his pockets to select the host nations for the 2008 and 2010 World Cups, a newly unsealed transcript reveals.
     The day corruption charges against 14 FIFA officials were unveiled, prosecutors revealed that Blazer copped to a 10-count criminal complaint on Nov. 25, 2013.
     U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie shed light on the minutes of those hourlong proceedings today with the release of a 40-page redacted transcript.
     The transcript shows that to ensure absolute privacy on that Monday morning nearly 18 months ago, Dearie asked his courtroom security officer: “Would you do me a favor and just open the door, and see if there is anybody lusting about in the hallway yearning to get in here?”
     Apparently finding nobody outside, the judge quipped: “Monday morning at 10 after 10, you would think we are in the middle of the night.”
     Later, Blazer apprised the judge about his declining health before delving into details about bribes and kickbacks spanning nearly two decades.
     Blazer had arrived in court in a wheelchair following 20 weeks of chemotherapy for rectal cancer, but he said that he had a “good prognosis” as his treatment moved on to radiation, according to the transcript.
     Though taking daily medication for other illnesses, Blazer confirmed he was of sound mind before acknowledging soccer-related corruption dating back to the early 1990s.
     “Beginning in or about 1993 and continuing through the early 2000s, I and others agreed to accept bribes and kickbacks in conjunction with the broadcast and other rights to the 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2003 Gold Cups,” he said. “Beginning in or around 2004 and continuing through 2011, I and others on the FIFA executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa as the host nation for the 2010 World Cup. Among other things, my actions described above had common participants and results.”
     Blazer’s other admission of World Cup impropriety came during part of a statement about his “racketeering activity.”
     “I agreed with other persons in or around 1992 to facilitate the acceptance of a bribe in conjunction with the selection of the host nation for the 1998 World Cup,” he said.
     Blazer told the court that this behavior was also pervasive at the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football, where he negotiated sponsorship and media rights in his capacity as the organization’s general secretary between 1990 and December 2011.
     “I and others agreed to use e-mail, telephone, and a wire transfer into and out of the United States in furtherance of the scheme,” he said. “Funds procured through these improper payments passed through JFK Airport in the form of a check.”
     Blazer spoke again of checks passing through JFK for five other charges related to payments between the United States and the Caribbean between December 2008 and May 2011.
     He also acknowledged unpaid income taxes between 2005 and 2010.
     At the time, Dearie set a sentencing control date for roughly a year later, on Nov. 7, 2014, according to the transcript.
     The date came and went without an entry on Blazer’s docket.

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