Exclusive: Miami company described in U.S. soccer case as agreeing to pay bribe

Fri Jul 10, 2015 1:14pm EDT
 
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By Mica Rosenberg and David Ingram

(Reuters) - A Miami-based affiliate of Spanish media giant Imagina group is one of the unidentified sports marketing companies alleged in a U.S. indictment to have agreed to pay a bribe in a global soccer corruption scandal, sources told Reuters.

The company is Media World, a subsidiary of Imagina US, according to two sources familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity. Imagina US is a subsidiary of the Barcelona-based Imagina group.

The indictment does not say that the company - identified only as "Sports Marketing Company C" - paid a bribe, but says it had agreed to do so and was looking for a way to make the payment to a high-ranking soccer official in the Americas.  

Media World, which buys and sells the media rights to soccer leagues and has operated TV channels aimed at the U.S. Hispanic market, has not been charged with wrongdoing.

In U.S. court proceedings, prosecutors will sometimes describe potential wrongdoing by people or entities even if they are not ready to charge them with a crime. Sometimes, the person or corporation is never charged or even named by prosecutors.

A spokeswoman for federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York, declined to comment.  

On May 27, U.S. prosecutors detailed more than $150 million in alleged bribes paid over more than two decades, leading to the arrest of some top soccer and marketing executives and pitching soccer's governing body FIFA into crisis.

The indictment says that "Sports Marketing Company C" agreed with Traffic USA, a sports marketing firm named in the indictment, to split equally a $3 million bribe to Jeffrey Webb, at the time the head of the regional soccer federation CONCACAF.   Continued...