December 19 – Court papers filed by prosecutors in the US allege that an affiliate of a major broadcasting company in Latin America paid millions of dollars in bribes to obtain the rights for the next four World Cup tournaments in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
The court documents do not name the executive who paid the bribe, his company, or who the bribe was paid to.
However, a Reuters report identifies Swiss-based Mountrigi Management Group Ltd., an affiliate of Grupo Televisa, that has acquired the rights to broadcast the 2018 and 2022 World Cups across the region. Reuters say there are a number of board members common to both companies.
This is the first time any Mexican links have been made public up in relation to the US Department of Justice investigation into football corruption.
Televisa say they have no knowledge of the investigation and have not been contacted by US investigators. “We are certain all of the people from Mountrigi or Televisa that have dealt with FIFA have acted correctly and have not paid any bribes nor any kickback to FIFA official related to the acquisition of rights,” said a Televisa spokesman.
The Mexican Football Federation was similarly in the dark over the allegations, being more focussed on preparation of its bid to host 2026 World Cup.
Last week Argentine sports media company Torneos y Competencias to pay about $112.8 million as part of a deal to resolve charges stemming from the US investigation,
So far 43 individuals and businesses from 20 countries have been indicted by U.S. prosecutors on racketeering, wire-fraud, money laundering and other charges arising from the probe. Twenty people and two related companies have pleaded guilty.
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