The former president of Honduras who led the Honduran soccer federation from 2002 to 2015 pleaded guilty last week in federal court in Brooklyn, New York to two conspiracy counts of racketeering and wire fraud.
Rafael Callejas, 72, took bribes in exchange for contracts for the media and marketing rights to FIFA World Cup qualifier matches.
He was the president of the Republic of Honduras from 1990 to 1994.
Callejas now faces up to 20 years in prison for each count.
He’ll forfeit $650,000 as part of his guilty plea.
Callejas negotiated and accepted bribes totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. He used his influence to award contracts to Media World, a Florida sports marketing company, for rights to the Honduran national soccer team’s home World Cup qualifier matches for the 2014, 2018, and 2022.
Media World sent the bribes from its U.S. bank accounts through an intermediary to foreign bank accounts of Callejas and a co-conspirator, the DOJ said.
The DOJ has charged 42 defendants in the FIFA corruption prosecution. More than a dozen individuals and a sports marketing company have pleaded guilty.
Under a 92-count superseding indictment unsealed in December, most of the defendants were charged with racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracies. They face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
In December last year, the DOJ executed a search warrant at Media World’s offices in Miami.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.