FIFA to share $ 200million payment from Justice Department

FIFA, the governing body of world football, and two other organizations in the Americas are set to receive around $ 200 million in compe...


FIFA, the governing body of world football, and two other organizations in the Americas are set to receive around $ 200 million in compensation from the US government after the Department of Justice made them victims of the corruption scandal that toppled most of their senior executives in 2015.

Reimbursement will begin with an initial payment of $ 32.3 million in confiscated funds, Justice Department announcement Tuesday, but prosecutors approved a plan in which football organizations could receive up to $ 201 million.

The return of money comes six years after a sprawling criminal prosecutions exposed decades of corruption on an astonishing scale, with millions of dollars diverted from sport and into the pockets of football officials and businessmen around the world. It comes five years after FIFA, claiming to be corrupt but not corrupt, began asking for a share of the money US officials were collecting in the case.

Refunds will be made to FIFA, the governing body of the sport; CONCACAF, the organization that oversees football in North America, Central America and the Caribbean; and CONMEBOL, which governs sport in South America. Former leaders of these organizations, as well as those of national football federations across the Americas, had been implicated in the scandal in great detail. More than 50 people and companies have been indicted in the case since 2015, and dozens have pleaded guilty.

The Justice Department’s decision suggested a restored confidence-building measure in FIFA management, even if the money came with conditions: it must be locked in a foundation and directed towards the development of football around the world, according to Tuesday’s announcement, and any spending on the new account, the World Football Remission Fund , will be subject to independent monitoring and auditing measures, US officials said.

In a statement, FIFA President Gianni Infantino thanked the US authorities for their “swift and efficient approach to carrying out these cases, as well as for their confidence in general”.

The parameters for spending the money recovered from the government have been featured in other corruption cases, such as the United Nations Oil-for-Food case, in which the Department of Justice specifically earmarked the restitution money to a development fund in Iraq.

“It is not without precedent that the Department of Justice is ruling on the proper use of the money,” said Antonia M. Apps, lawyer at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy and former federal prosecutor for the Southern District from New York. “The magnitude of this corruption case is much larger than your typical corruption case, so the dollars are bigger than you would normally see.”

As US authorities announced their criminal case in 2015, and dozens of powerful officials and marketers pleaded guilty to charges including racketeering, electronic fraud and money laundering conspiracy, prosecutors clearly they saw football organizations as victims co-opted by dishonest operators.

Lawyers for FIFA and regional confederations have adopted the theory and fought in addition, manage the perceptions of prosecutors and the public by seeking to distance organizations from accused criminals; cooperate with the authorities; and consolidate the place of sports organizations as powerless victims of fraud by their leaders.

In a court case in 2016, FIFA lawyers argued that the organization had lost at least $ 28 million paid to 20 football officials over 12 years, in addition to incalculable other costs.

CONMEBOL has already collected millions of dollars through other channels. In July, he said he had received over $ 1.7 million by the Swiss authorities, money that was in the personal account of one of its former leaders. This was in addition to the $ 55 million the organization said it recovered from the accounts of other former officials.

Since the FIFA corruption scandal came to light with searches in a luxury hotel in 2015, the case, one of the largest prosecutions in America when it was first announced, has progressed even as public attention to its proceedings and corruption in world football has diminished.

Once again this week, Reynaldo Vasquez, the former senior Salvadoran football official who was indicted in 2015, pleaded guilty in Brooklyn Federal Court. And earlier this year, prosecutors announcement Swiss bank Julius Baer had agreed to pay more than $ 79 million in penalties for its role in money laundering in the scandal.

Despite this, years later, key figures have still not been convicted or sentenced, and some former officials are still at large. One of them, Marco Polo Del Nero, the former president of the Brazilian football federation, was recently registered, appearing to run the affairs of the federation although FIFA banned him for life from working in organized football.

Announcing the new conviction this week, U.S. law enforcement officials telegraphed that they are still keeping an eye on the sport. Tuesday’s announcement underscored this.

“From the start,” Acting U.S. Attorney-at-Law for the Eastern District of New York Jacquelyn M. Kasulis said in a statement, “this investigation and prosecution has been focused on prosecution and restitution. ill-gotten gains to those who work for the benefit of the beautiful game.

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Newsrust - US Top News: FIFA to share $ 200million payment from Justice Department
FIFA to share $ 200million payment from Justice Department
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