SportsEx-FIFA Top Official Bags 16 Months Jail Term For...

Ex-FIFA Top Official Bags 16 Months Jail Term For $350,000 Bribes

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JUMIA ANNIVERSARY

A federal court sitting in Brooklyn has sentenced Reynaldo Vasquez, the former president of the El Salvadorean soccer federation (“the Federation”) sentenced to sixteen (16) months imprisonment for taking bribes during the discharge of duties.

Formal FIFA official sentenced over bribery

The United States District Judge Pamela K. Chen gave the verdict in connection with over $350,000 in bribes that he and other soccer officials from El Salvador received from an American company in exchange for the sale of broadcast rights to the El Salvador soccer team’s World Cup qualifier and friendly matches. 

Vasquez pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy in August 2021.  The defendant was indicted in November 2015 and extradited to the United States from El Salvador in 2021.  As part of his plea agreement, Vasquez had previously agreed to forfeit $360,000 to the government.

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Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced the sentence.

“The defendant and his co-conspirators, motivated by greed, disgraced themselves by lining their pockets with hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, at the expense of a beautiful sport, El Salvador’s soccer federation, and the community it served,” stated United States Attorney Peace.  “Vasquez has now been held to account, like the many other corrupt soccer officials who have been exposed by the government’s investigation.” 

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Mr. Peace thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, Los Angeles Field Office (IRS-CI), for their exceptional investigative work, and the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs for its assistance with extradition of the defendant in this matter.

From approximately 2009 through 2011, Vasquez served as the President of the Federación Salvadoreña de Fútbol.

Vasquez and his co-conspirators participated in and corrupted an enterprise comprising soccer organizing bodies and sports marketing companies.  As part of his association with that enterprise, Vasquez and others solicited and received bribes and kickbacks in exchange for awarding lucrative media and marketing contracts. 

In 2012, Vasquez, together with other current and former officials of the federation, received approximately $350,000 in bribes in connection with the sale of media and marketing rights to El Salvador World Cup qualifying matches to be played in advance of the 2018 World Cup.  This bribe payment was wired from a sports marketing company’s bank account in the United States. 

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Vasquez ultimately received a portion of his bribe money through a wire transfer sent through the United States.  In 2014 and 2015, Vasquez and others agreed to receive tens of thousands of dollars in bribes in connection with the participation of the Salvadorean national team in friendly matches to be played in the United States. 

The sentence as announced is part of a long-running investigation into corruption in international soccer led by the U.S.

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