FIFA gate trial: Tournaments that were never played, bribes that were, and pedicures

Scales of justice

December 7 – A Brazilian marketing executive has told the FifaGate trial in New York how he helped set up an enticing bribe to powerful South American football officials to secure the rights for a new tournament that never happened.

With a verdict imminent on Jose Maria Marin, former president of Brazil’s Football Confederation, once-time FIFA vice president and Conmebol boss Juan Angel Napout and Manuel Burga, who led Peruvian football until 2014, Fabio Tordin gave a graphic account of how the deal was set up.

Like the three on trial, Tordin, once both CEO and consultant to marketing agency Traffic before working from 2011 for Media World, is also among 42 people and entities indicted in the $200 million corruption scandal. But he pleaded guilty in 2015, agreed to return $600,000 and is now cooperating with US prosecutors against the first three defendants in the dock, all of whom have pleaded not guilty to racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering. Tordin was originally due to be sentenced himself in November but that has now been pushed back.

Tordin testified that at a lavish farm on a summer night in Uruguay, three top officials from CONCACAF accepted nearly $500,000 from Argentinian sports rights company Full Play — but the tournament never materialised.

According to Tordin, the deal was set up by himself and Miguel Trujillo, a Colombian football consultant with links to owners of the Full Play marketing company, Hugo and Mariano Jinkis.

Tordin said that after lunching at the beach he, Trujillo, and CONCACAF high-rollers Alfredo Hawit, Rafael Salguero and Ariel Alvarado returned to Jinkis’ “beautiful” country house.

The aim was to “convince the (CONCACAF bosses) that Full Play could be the marketing arm of CONCACAF,” he said.

“Full Play agreed to pay $300,000 for the officials in exchange for them signing the document,” said Tordin, adding Hawit, then president of CONCACAF, later said he “deserved” $150,000 more – bringing the total payment to $450,000.

Another government witness, Nelson Sanabria, ex-assistant to Napout, told the court his former boss was fond of massages, manicures and pedicures.

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