July 30, 2015 / 10:54 AM / in 2 years

In Las Vegas, mafia museum to display FIFA's 'rampant corruption'

(Reuters) - A Las Vegas museum devoted to the exploits of Tommy gun-wielding mobsters will open a permanent display that explores the “rampant corruption” of global soccer’s scandal-rocked governing body, which has drawn comparisons to organized crime.

The new exhibit, announced Tuesday by a museum showcasing some of the most brutal and exploitative criminal activity in U.S. history, follows a corruption scandal that has created the worst crisis in FIFA’s 111-year history.

The Mob Museum will unveil the display of photographs, news articles, and original narratives called “The ‘Beautiful Game’ Turns Ugly”, in September.

“The Museum’s new FIFA exhibit gives a breakdown of the kickbacks, secrecy and match-fixing associated with the scandal,” the museum said in a statement. “The display provides an incisive and eye-opening look into the rampant corruption that plagues (FIFA).”

In late May, U.S. prosecutors in New York indicted nine soccer officials, most of whom held or had held FIFA positions, and five sports media and promotions executives in schemes involving $150 million in bribes over a period of 24 years.

Prosecutors said their investigation exposed complex money laundering schemes, millions of dollars in untaxed income and tens of millions of dollars in offshore accounts held by the soccer officials.

The scandal has triggered calls from leading FIFA sponsors as well as labor union and anti-corruption groups that the soccer entity agree to be monitored by a fully independent reform commission.

On Wednesday, Argentine football great Diego Maradona said he wants to fight the “mafia” responsible for the corruption scandal that has rocked the Zurich-based Federation Internationale de Football Association.

The museum said its exhibit, staged in an area devoted to international organized crime, will provide foreign tourists visiting the Nevada city famed for gambling and show-business an “especially resonant example of the different shapes organized crime can take.”

FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the exhibit.

The Mob Museum, or more formally the National Museum of Organized Crime & Law Enforcement, offers exhibits that piece together the story of organized crime in America and how it came to shape Las Vegas.

Among them is a brick wall that absorbed bullets aimed at seven mobsters in Chicago’s infamous 1929 St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Prohibition-era whiskey flasks, Kennedy-era FBI wiretaps, and suits worn by fictional HBO mob boss Tony Soprano.

One section explains the “Web of Deceit” woven by the mob in its heyday, influencing U.S. national elections and Cuba’s Fidel Castro.

Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Andrew Hay

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