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Miami marketing exec admits paying $14 million in FIFA bribe case

A Miami man pleaded guilty Thursday to bribing FIFA and North American and Caribbean soccer officials to win media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments.

Aaron Davidson, left, entered his plea in federal court in Brooklyn, New York to racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy.

Davidson, 45, is an American citizen. He paid bribes on behalf of Traffic Sports USA, Inc., a Miami sports marketing company that’s part of the Brazil-based Traffic Group.

He was president of Traffic USA at the time of his arrest in May 2015. 

As part of his plea, Davidson forfeited about $508,000.

He faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the two conspiracy counts. 

Davidson admitted he helped pay $14 million in bribes to Jeffrey Webb, a former FIFA vice president and president of CONCACAF, the sanctioning body for soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Webb pleaded guilty in November last year.

The DOJ has charged 42 defendants in the FIFA corruption prosecution.

Eighteen defendants have now pleaded guilty.

Jose Hawilla, a Brazilian who founded Traffic, pleaded guilty in 2014 and cooperated with the DOJ.

Davidson helped found the North American Soccer League and formerly served as chairman of its board of governors.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He’ll be a speaker at the FCPA Blog NYC Conference 2016.

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