By Paul Nicholson
February 22 – The next round of sentencing has begun in the US Department of Justice case against football’s corrupt officials and marketing partners with Panama-based Mimo International Exports and Imports ordered to pay a fine and restitution totalling $1.4 million for bribing Costa Rica’s former FA president Eduardo Li (pictured).
Li, who was arrested in May 2015 in the first wave of arrests in Zurich and who eventually pleaded guilty in October 2016, is still awaiting a sentencing date in the Brooklyn Federal Court.
Mimo pleaded guilty to the US charges and Judge Pamela Chen issued a fine of $900,000, ordered restitution of $500,000 to be paid to the Costa Rican FA, and for Mimo to be dissolved as part of a plea agreement.
Mimo had been looking to exit a sponsorship deal agreed in 2012 with the Costa Rican FA to manufacture or import apparel from an Italian company. In return for agreeing to exit the contract early, Mimo would collect a multi-million dollar termination fee.
The Costa Rican FA had a new and more lucrative deal lined up with a US-based kit supplier – believed to be New Balance but not named in court. As part of the transaction Mimo said it agreed to pay Li $500,000, of which US prosecutors said he had received more than $300,000 by the time of his arrest.
Li, who was also a vice president of regional confederation CONCACAF and was due to take a seat on FIFA’s then all-powerful Executive Committee was banned for life from football by FIFA in April 2017.
Before Christmas Juan Angel Napout, the former president CONMEBOL and the Paraguayan FA, and Jose Maria Marin, former president of the Brazilian FA (CBF), were convicted of taking bribes in exchange for the award of marketing and media rights to international matches and regional competitions. A sentencing date has yet to be announced.
The next scheduled sentencing date in Brooklyn is for former Guatemalan FA president Bryan Jimenez on March 5, followed by former CONCACAF president Jeff Webb on March 7.
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