At least 40 former FIFA officials are facing charges
Charges relate to alleged bribery for lucrative media and marketing rights
The former president of the Venezuelan Football Federation, Rafael Esquivel, has pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges related to fraud and racketeering, according to the US attorney’s office in New York.
He’s one of at least 40 former FIFA executives indicted in the US after a corruption scandal at the heart of football’s governing body.
Esquivel faces up to 20 years in prison for each of the seven charges, which include racketeering conspiracy, three counts of wire fraud conspiracy, and three counts of money laundering conspiracy, according to a statement from the US attorney’s office.
As part of his plea, Esquivel agreed to forfeit over $16 million. He faces up to 20 years for each count.
The charges are in connection with multiple bribery schemes in the awarding of media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments.
FIFA officials face corruption charges
At the time of this arrest, Esquivel was also president of CONMEBOL, the South American Football Confederation.
The current president of the Venezuelan Football Federation, Laureano Gonzalez, told CNN he could not comment on the plea because he was not aware of the terms or conditions Esquivel’s decision was based on.
Gonzalez said he had seen on Twitter that Esquivel had pleaded guilty, but that he had not spoken to Esquivel or his lawyers since his arrest.
US prosecutors allege former FIFA officials took bribes in return for providing lucrative media and marketing rights to soccer tournaments for over 24 years.