Fox Sports accused of bribery in bid to secure football rights

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They are Jose Maria Marin, ex-head of Brazil's Football Confederation, former FIFA vice president Juan Angel Napout, who was elected president of CONMEBOL in 2014, and Manuel Burga, who led soccer in Peru until 2014.

Alejandro Burzaco, a witness for the prosecution in the case, said in court that he was aware of six media companies involved in bribes, including Fox, O Globo from Brazil, Media Pro from Spain, and Televisa from Mexico.

A month later, Grondona received 1 million from Teixeira for voting for Qatar, Burzaco said.

"They had presidential or diplomatic or royal treatment", Burzaco testified.

Burzaco's testimony, which is expected to continue into Wednesday, also implicated the three former football executives, José Maria Marin, Manuel Burga and Juan Ángel Napout, now on trial.


They were whisked around by private jet, with "three or four Mercedes" parked on the tarmac ready and waiting on arrival at CONMEBOL headquarters. "Are you the one not voting?'" he said, adding that Qatar was voted host of the 2022 World Cup after the encounter.

The three of them would have received around 600,000 a year in bribes, he said.

After one meeting where arrangements were made to wire Marin a portion of a $2 million bribe, he "gave me a hug and showed me his gratitude", Burzaco said.

Burzaco told jurors that he helped arrange bribes paid to all three defendants, though his testimony went far beyond that, describing corruption throughout worldwide soccer.

After being charged in 2015, following a morning raid on a hotel in Zurich, Burzaco testified that he briefly went into hiding before deciding to turn himself in and cooperate.


Ganley is named as a defendant in a 2016 civil lawsuit in a Florida federal court by Florida-based soccer network GolTV, which claims that Ganley and others paid bribes for broadcast rights.

"I said, 'Alejandro, you go to the United States and face justice, '" he said about the decision. Torneos y Competencias and Fox Sports, a unit of News Corp, jointly owned a sports marketing venture, T&T Sports Marketing Ltd. Fox held a 75% share ofT&T from 2005, Burzaco said. The suit, filed by an Uruguayan sports media company, claimed Fox and its executives, along with Burzaco and sports marketing executives, conspired to pay bribes to South American soccer officials in exchange for rights to tournaments.

Fox Sports issued a statement late Tuesday saying "any suggestion" it "knew of or approved of any bribes is emphatically false".

The 53-year-old told the court the former head of Fox Sports Pan American Sports, James Ganley, signed a sham contract in 2008 to cover up a $3.7 million agreement to extend contracts.


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