A former president of Colombia’s Soccer Federation on Monday admitted to a New York court that he received bribes as he acknowledged his role in a corruption scandal that has rocked soccer’s world governing body, FIFA.
Luis Bedoya conceded that he took bribes that were offered for him to use his influence on decisions based around the allocation of television rights during his time as head of the Colombian soccer federation.
“I accepted bribes from approximately 2007 until 2015, voluntarily surrendering to the US government in 2015 without any charges against me,” said Bedoya, accepting the charges against him.
Bedoya also implicated the presidents of the the federations of Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Venezuela, Brazil and Bolivia claiming that they agreed a deal with Argentine company “Full Play” to ensure that it was awarded the broadcasting rights for the 2011 Copa America competition.
According to the testimony of the disgraced Colombian, Mariano Jinkis, the owner of the company agreed to pay each president $1 million in two installments of $500,000 for their compliance.
“It was the first time I was going to see a million dollars together,” said Bedoya who also claimed that Luis Chiriboga, former president of the Ecuadorian Football Federation, “was one of the most enthusiastic about Jinkis’ proposals.”
Bedoya identified Juan Angel Napou of the Paraguayan Soccer Association and his Peruvian counterpart Manuel Burga as having been involved in the conspiracy with him.
The former Colombian soccer official explained that the contract with the Full Play Group was signed during the 2010 FIFA Congress.
According to Bedoya, Napout was concerned that he “not be exposed” and Burga said “he didn’t know how to receive money of this type.”
Subsequently, one of the owners of Full Play set up a “paper” company in Uruguay through which the bribes were moved.
He also claimed that he and Napout met with an “important Qatari” after the 2010 Champions League final in Madrid where they were asked to support the middle-eastern country’s bid to host the 2022 World Cup.
Napuot and Burga, as well as the Brazilian Jose Maria Marin have not acknowledged any guilt for their alleged involvement in the scandal.
Bedoya was subject to an investigation from the Colombian prosecutor’s office in 2015 amid suspicions of illegal activity regarding financial transactions.
The former member of FIFA’s executive committee, pleaded guilty in 2015 to racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy.
The charges, which could see him sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in the scandal popularly known as “FIFA Gate” has implicated many global soccer executives.
His defense has claimed however that in exchange for providing information about the scandal and returning the money, he will not pay a single day in jail.