Life bans all round as FIFA catches up with Burga and two other South American football bosses
Manuel Burga, the former Peru football supremo who escaped judicial punishment in the FIFAGate scandal, has been hit with a life ban from football even so by FIFA.
The ethics commission of the world governing body has acted, nearly two years after Burga was cleared on a corruption charge in a New York court in December 2017, after the scandal which shook FIFA to its core and resulted in more than 40 US indictments for senior international officials.
Life bans have also been imposed by FIFA on former CONMEBOL general secretaries Eduardo Deluca and José Luis Meiszner. The latter wsas also a former GS of the Argentinian federation.
All three were fined CHF 1m though the sum is academic and is not expected to be either repaid or reclaimed.
Burga was released by the US judicial system in December 2017 when the one charge laid against him in a joint trial with Brazilian Jose Maria Marin and Paraguayan Juan Angel Napout was deemed not proven after the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict.
The same trial led to jail terms for Jose Maria Marin, former president of the Brazilian CBF, and Juan Angel Napout, ex-president of South American governing body CONMEBOL.
Burga, who did crosswords and read historical fiction during the court deliberations, flew home to Peru after the end of the case despite US prosecutors’ insistence that they remained determined to pursue him over further charges.
These concern wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies in connection with the Copa Libertadores and charges of wire fraud and money laundering in connection with bribes for broadcasting and marketing rights to the Copa America and Copa America Centenario.
These were not raised in the New York trial because the Peruvian courts had approved Burga’s extradition only on the single charge of conspiracy. The other charges of fraud and money laundering were not recognised because of legal action against him in the domestic courts.
In effect, this means that Burga dare not leave Peru for fear that, if he lands in any other country, the US authorities will seek to have him extradited and put back on trial.
The FIFAGate scandal exploded in May 2015 when seven senior football bosses were arrested in Zurich on US extradition warrants on the eve of FIFA Congress.
Jeff Webb, one-time FIFA vice-president and president of central/north American federation CONCACAF, is due to be sentenced in the spring.
Webb has been under home restrictions in Georgia ever since while negotiating with the US judicial authorities. He is understood to have admitted racketeering, money laundering and fraud charges drawn up in the $200m football fraud investigation but to be bargaining an eventual sentence against the information which can incriminate other FBI targets.
These include, most notably Jack Warner who was Webb’s predecessor as CONCACAF supremo and is fighting extradition from Trinidad and Tobago on similar FIFAGate corruption and money-laundering charges.
Warner, who headed CONCACAF from 1990-2011, is accused by US justice of receiving $10m from the South African government in exchange for three World Cup bid votes.
Some 42 individuals and companies were indicted by the US Justice Department, initially on the evidence provided by American Chuck Blazer, former general secretary of CONCACAF and member of the FIFA executive committee. He died in July 2017.
FIFA ethics committee statement:
The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has found the following former CONMEBOL officials guilty of bribery in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics:
· Mr Eduardo Deluca, a former CONMEBOL General Secretary and a former member of several FIFA standing committees;
· Mr José Luis Meiszner, a former CONMEBOL General Secretary and a former General Secretary of the Argentinian Football Association;
· Mr Manuel Burga, a former member of the CONMEBOL Executive Committee, a former President of the Peruvian Football Association and a former FIFA standing committee member.
The investigation proceedings against Mr Deluca, Mr Meiszner and Mr Burga concerned their respective roles in bribery schemes in awarding contracts to companies for the media and marketing rights to CONMEBOL competitions (Mr Deluca) and CONMEBOL and Concacaf competitions (Mr Meiszner and Mr Burga), during the periods between 2004 and 2012, 2012 and 2015 and 2010 and 2015, respectively.
In its decisions, the adjudicatory chamber found that Mr Deluca, Mr Meiszner and Mr Burga had breached art. 27 (Bribery) of the 2018 edition of the FIFA Code of Ethics and, as a result, sanctioned them with a ban for life on taking part in any football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level.
Additionally, a fine in the amount of CHF 1,000,000 has been imposed on each one of them.