FIFA ex-VP ‘took $50,000 a month in bribes’

FIFA ex-VP 'took $50,000 a month in bribes'

MONTEVIDEO  – Fallen FIFA vice president Eugenio Figueredo received $50,000 a month in “improper payments” from sports marketing companies, authorities in his native Uruguay alleged Tuesday in an indictment.

The 83-year-old ex-football boss, one of seven top FIFA officials arrested at a Zurich luxury hotel in May, received “hefty sums” each month to ensure two firms retained their exclusive rights to various South American tournaments, said the indictment published by a Uruguayan court.

Figueredo, who was extradited from Switzerland to Uruguay last week, faces charges of fraud and money laundering, and is currently in jail pending trial.

Detailing their case against him, prosecutors said records showed Figueredo received not only a monthly salary of $40,000 as president of South American football confederation CONMEBOL, but also $50,000 a month in bribes, which he invested in Uruguayan real estate.

The indictment said the sources of the illicit cash included Argentine firms Full Play and Torneos y Competencias, both of which are in the cross-hairs of the US investigation that unleashed the corruption scandal roiling world football.

Figueredo used “ploys and deceit to the detriment of Uruguayan clubs and professional footballers,” said the indictment.

“These ploys aimed to maintain the status quo that had reigned for years at CONMEBOL and which resulted in avoiding new offers and/or companies for the sale of television rights to the different tournaments.”

Figueredo faces two to 15 years in prison if convicted.

The head of the Uruguayan Football Association from 1997 to 2006, Figueredo became CONMEBOL president in 2013.

CONMEBOL s last three presidents have all been arrested in the scandal, plunging the South American confederation into crisis.

In all, 25 current or former top football officials have been indicted in the US investigation, leaving FIFA s reputation in tatters.

The world football governing body banned disgraced president Sepp Blatter last week for eight years over ethics violations. – AFP