NEW YORK: A man who paid out bribes to South American football bosses gave them all car brand nicknames, the FIFAGate trial has heard.
Santiago Pena, a former employee of the Full Play company at the heart of the bribery ‘system’ in Argentina, was giving evidence in the trial of Jose Marin (Brazil), Manuel Burga (Peru) and Juan Angel Napout (Paraguay) who all deny corruption charges arising from the corruption investigation.
Pena worked closely with Full Play company bosses Hugo and Mariano Jinkis who are the subject of a stalled extradition application in Buenos Aires from the United States Justice Department.
He told court that from 2013, at the request of the Jinkis father and son, he had changed his records of payments of bribes to presidents to use car names instead of initials.
Thus payments to Juan Angel Napout, Paraguayan then-president of the South American confederation CONMEBOL, were designated ‘Honda’. Those to Argentinian José Luis Meiszner, CONMEBOL secretary, were ‘Peugeot’. Bolivian Carlos Chávez was identified as ‘Volkswagen’, Venezuelan Rafael Esquivel as ‘Mercedes Benz’, Ecuadoran Luis Chiriboga as ‘Toyota’, Burga as ‘Fiat’, Colombian Luis Herberto Bedoya as ‘Flemic’ and Chilean Sergio Jadue as ‘KIA’.
Peña said he kept the records in a safe deposit box located in his house until two years after the May 27, 2015, swoop in Zurich which detained seven senior world football executives. Then he handed them over to the US authorities.