NEW YORK: Julio Rocha, former head of the Nicaraguan football federation, has pleaded guilty in New York in the FIFAGate corruption scandal.
He was the second senior former official to appear in court this week after Manuel Burga, one-time president of the Peruvian federation.
Rocha reportedly accepted bribes totalling more than $150,000 linked to the sale of marketing rights. He was one of the ‘Zurich Seven’ arrested dramatically on the eve of FIFA Congress in May last year.
At the time Rocha was serving as a FIFA development officer but he had led the Nicaraguan federation from 1998 to 2012.
He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each count. He also has agreed to forfeit nearly $300,000.
Burga, former president of the Peruvian football federation, was bailed by a New York court on Tuesday on FIFAGate charges.
However he has insisted he is innocent of all wrongdoing.
Burga was extradited from Lima at the weekend after a lengthy attempt to contest the order sought by the United States Department of Justice.
He is charged, among other offences, with having accepted bribes from the Argentinian marketing executive Alejandro Burzaco, former head of the TyC corporation, over television rights to the Copa America.
He has also been charged with money-laundering and wire fraud but the extradition was obtained on only the offence of conspiracy to defraud.
Burga has proclaimed his innocence of any wrongdoing while he headed the Peruvian federation between 2002 and 2014.
More than 40 individuals and companies have been indicted by the US DoJ. Most have pleaded guilty. Only six thus far have maintained not guilty pleas and their trial is schedule to start in November next year.
Jack Warner, former president of central/north confederation CONCACACAF, and Nicolas Leoz, ex-president of South America’s CONMEBOL, are both contesting extradition from Trinidad & Tobago and Paraguay respectively.
Warner is a former vice-president of world football federation FIFA while Leoz was a long-time member of its governing executive committee.