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Sunday July 12th, 2020 5:37AM

Ex-soccer official describes bank account used for bribes

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The former president of Colombia's soccer federation says he and several of his South American counterparts discussed the Swiss bank account he used to accept bribes.

On his second day on the witness stand, Luis Bedoya testified Tuesday that he spoke about the account with former Paraguay federation president Juan Angel Napout, ex-Peru federation president Manuel Burga and former Ecuador federation president Luis Chiriboga. Bedoya said he did not go into details of the account but spoke of it as his method of receiving money from Mariano Jinkis of Full Play Group, the media company that paid bribes for broadcast rights to South American soccer tournaments.

Bedoya said he did not tell his wife about the account but spoke of it with colleagues.

A former member of FIFA's executive committee, Bedoya pleaded guilty in 2015 to racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy. He said Monday he accepted more than $3 million in bribes from 2007-15.

Under cross-examination from Napout's lawyer on Tuesday, Bedoya was asked to give details of a hotel lobby in Madrid where he said Jinkis introduced him to a Qatari ahead of the 2010 Champions League final. Bedoya said Monday that Jinkis told him then that up to $15 million in bribe money was available to South American officials in exchange for supporting Qatar's bid for the 2022 World Cup.

Bedoya also was asked to describe the scene at a Zurich hotel when the first arrests were made in the case in May 2015.

During a lengthy exchange among lawyers without the jury present, Napout's lawyer succeeded in pursuading U.S. District Judge Pamela K. Chen to admit a 2010 letter from Bedoya to South American confederation president Nicolas Leoz stating that Colombia's federation supported the United States in the FIFA executive committee vote for the 2022 World Cup host. Qatar won the vote, and Bedoya said he believed South America's three voters supported Qatar.

U.S. prosecutors allege that support of Qatar in exchange for bribes was part of a conspiracy, but not all of the more than three dozen people charged were involved in that scheme.

Napout, Burga and former Brazil soccer federation president Jose Maria Marin are on trial in federal court in Brooklyn for racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports
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