NEW YORK: The legal fall-out from the FIFAGate scandal has continued with notice of two major financial claims arising out of the $200m case which has ensnared 42 senior world football executives and companies writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
On the one hand South American confederation CONMEBOL has opened legal proceedings in New York against International Soccer Marketing, its long-term commercial rights partner; similtaneously Florida-based GolTV has sued Fox Sports Latin America over allegations about how the latter obtained exclusive TV rights to various tournaments.
In May 2015 the United States Department of Justice launched a first wave of arrests in pursuit of its investigation into corruption involving bribes and money-laundering by senior football officials over many years in the Americas.
A trial date for a dozen of the indicted, who include former vice-presidents of world federation FIFA, has been set for November next year.
CONMEBOL, whose past three presidents have all been indicted, has now stepped into the legal battleground by taking court action in New York to terminate its commercial partnership with ISM and recover $18m allegedly syphoned off in bribes.
ISM was listed as ‘co-conspirator No5’ in the original FIFAGate indictment. However no charges have been laid against ISM or its owner, Zorana Danis.
Separately, GolTV has accused Fox Sports executives of participating in a scheme involving money laundering, offshore shell companies and illicit wire transfers to Swiss bank accounts in return for TV football rights.
Fox has rejected the complaint. A statement said: “This is an entirely meritless claim. Fox had no operational control over any of the entities named in the FIFA indictment, and no Fox employees were implicated.
“As for GolTV, it has been attempting without success to challenge the award of rights to Fox that were negotiated after the FIFA indictment, with full transparency to CONMEBOL.
“This lawsuit will fail just as GolTV’s previous efforts have failed.”
The GolTV lawsuit claims irregularities engineered through T&T Sports Marketing, Ltd., a Cayman Islands company part-owned by Fox and Alejandro Burzaco, an Argentinian businessman indiced in the FIFAGate case.