Prosecutors have tabled fresh allegations of bribes being paid to FIFA executive committee members to vote for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup.
An indictment unsealed on Monday in a US District Court in Brooklyn alleges Nicolas Leoz, the then president of South American football’s governing body CONMEBOL, and former Brazil federation president Ricardo Teixeira accepted bribes to vote for the Gulf state at FIFA’s executive committee meeting in 2010.
The indictment also alleges Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago, who was president of the North and Central American and Caribbean governing body CONCACAF, received $5m (£4.1m) in bribes to vote for Russia’s hosting of the 2018 World Cup.
Guatemala federation president Rafael Salguero was also promised a $1m (£815,000) bribe to vote for Russia, according to the indictment, an updated third draft of charges in the matter, which alleges 53 counts of illegal behaviour in total.
The document also alleges a range of bribery and corruption offences in connection to broadcasting rights in North and South America for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, including events that led to the Fox network gaining the rights to show those competitions in the US.
The case has been brought in the US after law enforcement bodies there, headed by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), undertook to look into allegations of bribery in world football, particularly relating to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Leoz died last August, having avoided extradition to the US. Warner and Teixeira have also avoided extradition.
Salguero pleaded guilty in 2018 to two counts of wire fraud conspiracy and to single counts of racketeering conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.
Warner is alleged to have received bribe money for his Russia vote from 10 separate shell companies spread across countries including Anguilla, Cyprus and the British Virgin Islands.
“The profiteering and bribery in international soccer have been deep-seated and commonly known practices for decades,” William F Sweeney, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office, said in a statement issued by the office of the US Attorney in the Eastern District of New York.
“Over a period of many years, the defendants and their co-conspirators corrupted the governance and business of international soccer with bribes and kickbacks, and engaged in criminal fraudulent schemes that caused significant harm to the sport of soccer.
“Their schemes included the use of shell companies, sham consulting contracts and other concealment methods to disguise the bribes and kickback payments and make them appear legitimate.”
Qatar won the right to host the 2022 tournament over the US by a vote of 14-8.
Source: News update