Argentine firm reaches $112.8 million deal with U.S. in FIFA probe

Tue Dec 13, 2016 5:26pm EST
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By Mica Rosenberg and Nate Raymond

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors on Tuesday announced an agreement allowing Argentine sports media Torneos y Competencias SA to pay about $112.8 million to settle charges stemming from a sweeping bribery probe targeting FIFA, soccer's world governing body.

The deferred prosecution agreement with Torneos, whose former chief executive pleaded guilty last year to engaging in schemes to bribe soccer officials, was approved by U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen at a hearing in federal court in Brooklyn.

Under the deal, Torneos agreed to forfeit $89 million and pay a $23.76 million penalty. Prosecutors charged it with one count of wire fraud conspiracy, which will be dropped if it abides by the agreement's terms for four years.

Outside of court, Ignacio Galarza, the company's general manager, said he welcomed the agreement, which is the first with a company in the FIFA corruption probe.

"Today is a great day for us as we start to leave this investigation behind," Galarza told reporters.

In a statement, Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers said the company cooperated and is "being given a chance to change the way the business of soccer is done in the future."

As part of the agreement, the company said it would implement internal compliance and accounting controls.

The company is one of 43 people and entities charged as part of a U.S. investigation that upended Zurich-based FIFA and the soccer world. To date, 20 people and two related companies have pleaded guilty in connection with the probe.   Continued...

Ignacio Galarza, the general manager of the Argentine sports communications firm Torneos y Competencias S.A., is seen following a hearing in United States Court in Brooklyn, New York, December 13, 2016. REUTERS/Nate Raymond