While the massive FIFA corruption investigation is ongoing, the US Justice Department announced Tuesday that it approved more than $201 million in forfeited funds to return to FIFA and affiliates.
FIFA, CONMEBOL, CONCACAF to Receive More than $201M
On Tuesday this week, the US Justice Department announced that it approved remission of forfeited funds to FIFA and two affiliates. The Justice Department revealed that as victims of corruption, the organizations will receive more than $201 million.
From that total, $32.3 million in forfeited funds has already received approval for initial distribution. With that in mind, as part of the long-running investigation and prosecution of corruption in international soccer, the forfeited funds are well over the amount granted to the victims.
Besides FIFA, the remission of funds will also reach CONMEBOL which is the confederation responsible for soccer governance in South America, as well as the confederation responsible for soccer governance in North and Central America, CONCACAF.
The Massive FIFA Corruption Investigation Continues
It was back in 2015 when the Justice Department launched the investigation, charging 14 FIFA officials and sports marketing executives with honest services wire fraud, racketeering, money laundering, and other offenses. Later on, in December the same year, 16 more FIFA officials were charged with similar crimes.
While the prosecution continues to date, so far 26 individual defendants have pleaded guilty for various offenses. Overall, more than 50 corporate and individual defendants from 20 countries have been charged so far. Their offenses mainly relate to “offer and receipt of bribes and kickbacks paid by sports marketing companies to soccer officials in exchange for the media and marketing rights to various soccer tournaments and events,” explained the Justice Department.
The US Remains Focused on Fighting against Corruption in Sports
The Acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Jacquelyn M. Kasulis commented on the topic. She outlined that the remission confirms that money stolen by corrupt soccer officials and sports marketing executives through fraud will return to the sport where they belong. Kasulis stressed that the prosecution has been focused on bringing wrongdoers to justice from the very start of the investigation. Additionally, she said that the prosecution aimed at “restoring ill-gotten gains to those who work for the benefit of the beautiful game.“
“Our Office, together with our law enforcement partners, will always work to compensate victims of crime.”Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, Acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York
Kenneth A. Polite Jr., Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said that the remission of funds illegally obtained “marks another important milestone in these prosecutions.” Furthermore, he stressed that this remission affirms that the department is committed to using all necessary tools to prosecute and deprive perpetrators of illegally obtained funds. In conclusion, Polite acknowledged the “remission highlights the importance of asset forfeiture as a critical tool for the recovery of criminal proceeds and the pursuit of justice.“