USA government witness in Federation Internationale de Football Association trial said Fox, Televisa paid bribes

A government witness in the Federation Internationale de Football Association corruption trial said Fox Sports and several other broadcast networks paid bribes to Federation Internationale de Football Association for soccer broadcasting rights, according to Ken Bensinger of BuzzFeed. Burzaco, the former head of Torneos and Competencias who has pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and other charges, has emerged as a key witness against José Maria Marin, Manuel Burga and Juan Ángel Napout.

Fox Sports is by far the largest of the group, however, and is owned by 21st Century Fox, the multinational conglomerate controlled by Rupert Murdoch.

The three former officials, some of whom went on to replace Grondona, Teixeria and Leoz at the head of Conmebol, deny their role in the 24-year scheme involving at least $150m in bribes.

The testimony in the criminal case comes as Fox Sports is being sued, separately, for alleged bribery in Miami federal court. Fox Sports spokeswoman Terri Hines said the company had no immediate comment.

That fake contract allowed Fox Sports to extend its media rights for Copa America and other events from 2015 to 2018 and to launch Fox Sports 2 and Fox Sports 3 in multiple countries, Burzaco said. Fox had a 75% stake in T&T at the time many of those bribes were signed.

Burzaco told the court the bribes came in the form of phony contracts, including one from 2008 that involved the Fox Sports/Torneos partnership paying $3.7 million to the recipients. Prosecutors displayed a copy of the contract, clearly bearing Ganley's signature, to the jury.

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Burzaco said other media companies, including Televisa, Media Pro, TV Globo, Full Play Argentina, and Traffic had all paid bribes for soccer rights as well.

Recently, evidence arose that Televisa may have been involved in paying bribes to secure broadcast rights for Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay for four consecutive World Cups.

The three men are now standing trial in Brooklyn federal court on charges of wire fraud, racketeering, and money laundering.

The trial is due to last five to six weeks, and prosecutors are expected to present hundreds of thousands of pages of evidence and dozens of witnesses.

Burzaco's testimony, which is expected to continue into Wednesday, also implicated the three former football executives, José Maria Marin, Manuel Burga and Juan Ángel Napout, now on trial.

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