KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS —- Argentinian legal action over alleged football business fraud could complicate the United States’ attempt to extradite father and son Hugo and Mariano Jinkis in the FIFAGate corruption case.
The two men, who own the marketing agency Full Play Internacional, are subject to an extradition application by the US Department of Justice but have now been charged by Argentinian federal prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita with money laundering arising out of the original case.
If the Argentinian legal process is granted priority over the US application – and international relations between the two countries are not good – then the two defendants may seek to have the extradition application frozen.
Hugo Jinkis, 70, and Mariano Jinkis, 40, handed themselves in to police in mid-June and were released on Aigist 27 on conditional bail. They have to remain within 60km of the court and may not leave home for more than 24hr without informing the prosecution.
Prosecutor Pollicita has launched an investigation into money-laundering allegations involving Hugo and Mariano Jinkis as well as Alejandro Burzaco, another Argentinian businessman charged in the FIFAGate case and who is on bail in the US.
Burzaco was president of the sports marketing firm Torneos y Competencias which has been centrally involved over the past decade in Argentina in organising the Futbol Para Todos programme.
This was devised by the late AFA president Julio Grondona and the government of President Cristina Kirchner through which the state bought in’ the rights for the free TV transmission of domestic football in a ‘sweetener’ to voters. The clubs were supposed to use the revenues to pay down massive debts but there is little evidence that they have done so.
Burzaco appeared in court in New York last Friday when his lawyer, Sean Casey, told Judge Raymond Dearie that prosecutors were sharing evidence with him.
Burzaco, appearing on a $20m bail bond, is accused of misusing funds from a $317.5m contract with CONMEBOL, the South American football confederation. Hugo and Mariano Jinkis are accused, alongside Burzaco, of paying bribes worth millions of dollars to senior CONMEBOL and other football officials.