NEW YORK: Two former 21st Century Fox television executives and a South American sports marketing company have pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in New York in the long-running FIFAGate corruption scandal.
Hernan Lopez and Carlos Martinez, and Urugauay-based Full Play Group regstered their pleas to crimes including wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy at an arraignment before United States District Judge Pamela Chen in Brooklyn.
Prosecutors said the defendants and co-conspirators bribed officials of South American confederation CONMEBOL to secure media and marketing rights to various tournaments, including the South American Copa Libertadores.
They were also accused of using bribes to help Fox obtain inside information about bidding for U.S. broadcast rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Fox paid $400 million for the English-language rights to both tournaments in 2011.
The charges were detailed on Monday in an amended indictment in which prosecutors for the first time said representatives for Russia and Qatar separately bribed FIFA officials to secure hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. These charges have been denied,
Bail was set at $15m for Lopez and Martinez, who will also face nightly curfews.
Walt Disney Co bought most of 21st Century Fox in 2019. Disney is not a defendant.
Full Play, which operates out of Buenis Aires, targeted officials at CONMEBOL and North American federation CONCACAF to win rights for events including Copa Libertadores and World Cup qualifying matches.