US prison dodger Burga falls foul of FIFA Ethics with life ban and $1m fine

November 13 – Manuel Burga, the Conmebol bigwig acquitted in the United States two years ago for his alleged role in the FifaGate scandal, has been banned for life by FIFA for taking bribes.

Detained in Lima, Peru, under an international arrest warrant in December 2015, Burga (pictured right) was extradited to the US in June 2016 and was released to the US under criminal conspiracy charges. The Peruvian court had ruled that US prosecutors’ charges of money laundering and electronic fraud were not grounds for extradition.

However, no such restrictions bound the FIFA Ethics process and its ethics committee judges found “overwhelming evidence” Burga either received or was promised a total of $6.6 million in bribes linked to marketing deals for the Copa America and Copa Libertadores. The former Peru federation boss was also fined CHF1 million.

In December 2017 Burga was acquitted of racketeering having denied all charges against him, similar to those that snared Juan Napout, of Paraguay, and Brazil’s Jose Maria Marin.

The former FIFA development executive served as the president of the Peruvian football federation for 12 years until 2014. After the criminal trial verdict was announced in Brooklyn, Burga  broke down in tears and said he would return to Peru and resume his career as a lawyer.

Now he finds himself kicked out of the game for good, with  FIFA’s ethics committee ruling that Burga’s guilt in its investigation was “particularly serious” and that he showed no awareness of wrongdoing “in spite of the overwhelming evidence against him.”

In its judgement FIFA said Burga agreed to receive bribes of $400,000 for each of four Copa Libertadores competitions from 2010 to 2013, and a total of $5 million for four Copa America tournaments from 2015 to 2023.

In other FIFA verdicts on Tuesday, two former CONMEBOL general secretaries from Argentina each received life bans and were fined CHF1 million. Eduardo Deluca held the role from 1986 to 2011, and José Luis Meiszner succeeded him. Both were also indicted by American justice authorities in 2015.

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