Miguel Trujillo, a FIFA match agent and soccer consultant, pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn yesterday to one count of money laundering conspiracy and two counts of wire fraud conspiracy in connection with his participation in multiple schemes to bribe soccer officials. He also pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false tax return under penalty of perjury and agreed to forfeit $495,000.
The guilty plea was announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Diego G. Rodriguez, Assistant Director-in-Charge, FBI, New York Field Office; and Acting Special Agent in Charge Anthony J. Orlando, IRS Criminal Investigation, Los Angeles Field Office.
65-year-old Trujillo, a citizen of Colombia and a U.S. legal permanent resident, was a Florida-based soccer consultant and a match agent licensed by FIFA to negotiate and arrange soccer matches between FIFA member associations.
Starting in approximately 2008 and acting variously on behalf of multiple sports marketing companies and his own soccer business, Trujillo paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to high-ranking officials of FIFA, CONCACAF, and four soccer federations in Central America and the Caribbean in furtherance of multiple schemes involving media and marketing contracts and international friendly matches.
The guilty plea announced yesterday is part of an investigation into corruption in international soccer being led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the FBI New York Field Office, and the IRS-CI Los Angeles Field Office. The prosecutors in Brooklyn are receiving considerable assistance from attorneys in various parts of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division in Washington, D.C., including the Office of International Affairs, the Organized Crime and Gang Section, the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, and the Fraud Section, as well as from INTERPOL Washington.
The crackdown on FIFA by American authorities has been applauded by many nations, while some nations who remain loyal to former FIFA president Sepp Blatter call it a politically motivated witch hunt.
Though they may be critical of the indictments, it is becoming clear that FIFA had a lot of skeletons in its expensive closets.
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