Money laundering US match agent pleads guilty in NY court, Esquivel says ‘not me’

Miguel Trujillo

By Andrew Warshaw
March 9 – The FifaGate corruption scandal that has already snared 41 individuals and entities allegedly involved in more than $200 million of bribes and kickbacks has widened still further after Miguel Trujillo (pictured), a Florida-based consultant licensed to arrange official matches between member associations, admitted charges against him when he appeared in a Brooklyn court.

Miguel Trujillo, 65, pleaded guilty to four counts, including conspiracy to commit money-laundering and wire fraud as he became the 42nd case being investigated. “I know what I was doing was wrong,” Trujillo said in court.

A US department of justice statement earlier read: “Earlier today in federal court in Brooklyn, Miguel Trujillo, a FIFA match agent and soccer consultant, pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering conspiracy and two counts of wire fraud conspiracy in connection with his participation in multiple schemes to bribe soccer officials.

“Trujillo also pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false tax return under penalty of perjury and agreed to forfeit $495,000.

“Starting in approximately 2008 and acting variously on behalf of multiple sports marketing companies and his own soccer business, Trujillo paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to high-ranking officials of FIFA, CONCACAF, and four soccer federations in Central America and the Caribbean in furtherance of multiple schemes involving media and marketing contracts and international friendly matches.”

Trujillo, a Colombian citizen resident in the US, was released on $1.5 million bail.

Appearing separately in the same court on Tuesday, Rafael Esquivel, one of the original ‘Zurich Seven’, pleaded not guilty to receiving bribes worth millions of dollars in connection with the sale of tournament marketing rights. Esquivel, former president of the Venezuelan federation, had earlier this week been extradited to the United States – nine months after he was detained in that infamous first raid on the exclusive Baur au Lac hotel just before May’s FIFA congress.

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