NEW YORK: Brayan Jimenez, the former Guatemalan federation president, has pleaded guilty at a court in Brooklyn to having received bribes over the awards of media and marketing rights.
In the latest step in the FIFAGate corruption scandal, Jimenez said he was guilty of racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud charges at a hearing in federal court in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Levy. Jimenez also agreed to forfeit US$350,000.
Jimenez is accused of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for authorising friendly matches played by Guatemala and awarding contracts for media rights for World Cup qualifying matches to the sports marketing firm Media World.
The company is a subsidiary of Imagina US, the Miami-based affiliate of Spanish media giant Imagina.
A statement from the US Department of Justice said: “Over a period of years, Media World transmitted these bribes from its US bank accounts to the defendant and a co-conspirator, often using intermediaries in the United States and Guatemala.”
Jimenez, who had been president of the Guatemala since 2010, was arrested in Guatemala in January ahead of being extradited to the United States. He now faces a maximum sentence of 20 years for each count.
He is among 41 individuals and entities charged as part of a US investigation into schemes involving more than $200 million in bribes for and by football officials for marketing and broadcast rights to tournaments and matches.