Wednesday, October 28, 2020

FIFA bans former Panama soccer chief for life in bribery case

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FIFA has imposed a life ban on a former member of its ethics committee who helped judge other soccer officials while himself taking bribes.

Ariel Alvarado received at least $230,000 in bribes linked to marketing deals, for World Cup qualifying games and the Gold Cup from 2009 to 2011, while he was a member of FIFA’s ethics committee, soccer’s world body said Thursday.

FIFA later appointed the Panama soccer federation president to its disciplinary committee.

Alvarado was a member of the disciplinary panel in 2015 judging wrongdoing by others when he was indicted in a sprawling U.S. Department of Justice investigation.

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He was charged with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies, though has yet to appear in an American court.

The FIFA investigation into Alvarado used evidence “related to the jury trial that was held in the United States” two years ago, the written verdict stated.

That trial at federal court in Brooklyn led to convictions for former FIFA vice president Juan Angel Napout and Jose Maria Marin, who headed the 2014 World Cup organizing committee in Brazil.

FIFA said its ethics committee judges have banned Alvarado for life, and fined him 500,000 Swiss francs ($510,000).

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“In order to have a sanctioning and a preventive effect, the fine should be higher than the benefit Mr. Alvarado obtained, as otherwise it would only amount to a reclaiming of the respective benefit,” the FIFA judges said.

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