- Title: Ex-El Salvador soccer chief pleads guilty in FIFA corruption probe
- Date: 23rd August 2021
- Summary: SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR (FILE - DECEMBER 16, 2015) (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** OFFICER ESCORTING FORMER PRESIDENT OF EL SALVADOR'S SOCCER FEDERATION, REYNALDO VASQUEZ OFFICER WITH INTERPOL JACKET VARIOUS OF VASQUEZ SURROUNDED BY MEDIA AS OFFICER READS OUT HIS RIGHTS VASQUEZ SURROUNDED BY MEDIA CLOSE OF SALVADORAN POLICE SEAL ON JACKET MORE OF VASQUEZ SURROUNDED BY MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL POLICE, HOWARD COTO, SAYING: "The crimes according to the court for his capture are an illicit association for committing (illegal) acts." MEDIA AT NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL POLICE, HOWARD COTO, SAYING: "The United States of America gave a red alert to Interpol (for his capture)." MEDIA SURROUNDING VASQUEZ (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) FORMER PRESIDENT OF EL SALVADOR'S SOCCER FEDERATION, REYNALDO VASQUEZ, SAYING: "Of course, come here and testify. We finished late resolving the problem of bribery. It's a special case but given how relaxed I am I will insist that in time with these incidents that I was not part of any decision at this level." VASQUEZ BEING ESCORTED AWAY POLICE ON DUTY SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR (FILE - MAY 20, 2010) (REUTERS) SALVADORAN INTERIOR MINISTER HUMBERTO CENTENO AND REYNALDO VASQUEZ, PRESIDENT OF EL SALVADOR'S SOCCER FEDERATION MEDIA ATTENDEES LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) REYNALDO VASQUEZ, PRESIDENT OF EL SALVADOR'S SOCCER FEDERATION, SAYING: "We knew we had some support within the legal framework of the federation. At all times, the minister expressed that he was willing to find a solution to this problem and he only placed a condition, saying that he would be willing to solve the problem but never while violating the law." CENTENO AND OFFICIALS FROM FESFUT, FIFA DESIGNATED A SPECIAL COMMISSION CENTENO AND VASQUEZ SHAKING HANDS SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR (FILE - MAY 20, 2010) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF SALVADORAN EXTERIOR OF INTERIOR MINISTRY
- Embargoed: 6th September 2021 21:07
- Keywords: El Salvador FIFA Reynaldo Vasquez San Salvador
- Location: SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR / NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
- City: SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR / NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
- Country: US
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Judicial Process/Court Cases/Court Decisions,United States
- Reuters ID: LVA001ERI48XV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:The former president of El Salvador's soccer federation pleaded guilty on Monday (August 23) to a racketeering conspiracy charge arising from a global soccer corruption probe involving the payment of bribes to stage and broadcast matches.
Reynaldo Vasquez, 65, the former president of the Federacion Salvadorena de Futbol, or the Salvadoran Football Federation, entered his plea through a translator before U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen in Brooklyn.
Vasquez acknowledged receiving $350,000 in 2012 from Miami-based Media World, which brokers rights to broadcasts targeting Spanish speakers, to induce FESFUT to arrange media and marketing rights to qualifier matches for the World Cup.
He said some of it was forwarded to a co-conspirator at Media World, describing himself as a "conduit."
Vasquez also admitted to being part of a scheme, including an alleged $10,000 bribe, to arrange friendly matches involving the men's national soccer teams of El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Guatemala.
Prosecutors said Vasquez could face 33 to 41 months in prison under recommended federal guidelines, though Chen said deportation "would appear a certainty at this point."
Vasquez also agreed to a $360,000 forfeiture. He has lived under home detention since being extradited in January from El Salvador, where he had been serving an eight-year sentence for fraud.
The defendant's sentencing is Dec. 16. His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Vasquez led FESFUT in 2009 and 2010.
FIFA, soccer's world governing body, banned Vasquez for life and fined him 500,000 Swiss francs in October 2019 after an internal ethics committee found him guilty of bribery.
Since the U.S. Department of Justice unveiled the corruption probe in 2015, more than 40 defendants have been criminally charged, and more than 30 have pleaded guilty.
(Production by: Dan Fastenberg)
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