August 2 – Yet another member of FIFA’s all-powerful ruling Council, which replaced the old executive committee as part of a widespread reform package, has become embroiled in corruption allegations making a mockery of the organisation’s claims that it has weeded out the miscreants within its inner circle.
Less than two months after Ghanaian football chief Kwesi Nyantakyi was banned for 90 days following bombshell bribery allegations, reports have emerged that Colombia’s federation president Ramon Jesurun is being investigated for alleged embezzlement and resale of tickets for World Cup qualifying matches.
Jesurun, who is also vice-president of Conmebol, was a strong supporter of Gianni Infantino in the FIFA presidential election two years ago and is understood to have personally recommended Claudia Maria Rojas as FIFA’s ethics investigations chief in succession Cornel Borbely even though she had no experience in criminal law and spoke only Spanish.
Jesurun is being probed along with his predecessor Luis Bedoya, executive Alvaro Gonzalez Alzate and former Colombian league chairman Jorge Perdomo. Also under investigation are Rodrigo Rendon Cano, owner of the Real Cartagena club; his son Rodrigo Rendon Ruiz, plus ticket selling companies Ticketshop and TicketYa.com.
Colombia’s trade authorities said the investigation concerned eight of the nine home South American qualifiers played by the national team. They believe 42,221 tickets were allegedly embezzled and resold, some at 350% over face value. Proceeds from the criminal operation are estimated to be about $4.5 million.
“The massive embezzlement of tickets and its resale were only possible because of actions attributed to the federation,” trade investigator Felipe Robledo told a press conference. “There were deliberate actions and deliberate omissions of the federation and its executives.”
He said investigations began in October 2017 when Colombia faced Paraguay in Barranquilla.
Bedoya, who has been banned for life by Fifa, was one of those who pleaded guilty in the FIFAgate scandal and is still in the United States as a protected witness.
The Colombian FA said in a statement that the organization “will show their correctness, as they are the main victims and whistleblowers of such activities.”
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