World

Fifa bribery trial: Suspects had code names based on cars

NEW YORK A witness in the US corruption trial related to football world-governing body Fifa testified on Monday about millions of dollars paid to former officials for broadcasting and sponsorship rights for tournaments.

Mr Santiago Pena said he was a financial manager at the Argentina-headquartered sports marketing firm Full Play from 2009 to 2015 and kept a spreadsheet, which he presented in court.

It detailed payments made to who he said were eight football officials from South America.

Each had a "fantasy" code name from different car brands, Mr Pena testified.

"Honda" was Juan Angel Napout, former president of Paraguay's football federation, and "Fiat" was Manuel Burga, ex-president of Peru's football federation, he said.

The two men are among the defendants in the trial, along with Jose Maria Marin, former president of Brazil's football federation. All three have pleaded not guilty.

Mr Pena said the payments, which included cash, wire transfers and concert tickets, were kept off the books and were paid to "get influence and loyalty".

They also included a commitment of US$750,000 (S$1 million) to former president of the Venezuelan football federation Rafael Esquivel, code-named "Benz".

Esquivel has pleaded guilty to US corruption charges. 
- REUTERS

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