Uefa has today (Wednesday) said that its headquarters in Nyon have been raided by Swiss police seeking details of a media rights contract signed by new Fifa president Gianni Infantino, while the investigative body of Fifa’s Ethics Committee has opened formal proceedings against Florida-based consultant and agent Miguel Trujillo.
The latest development comes after Infantino (pictured) yesterday denied any wrongdoing after the ‘Panama Papers’ leak suggested that he co-signed a media-rights agreement with a company based in a tax haven during his time at European governing body Uefa.
According to the records, Infantino, while serving as director of legal services at Uefa, co-signed the contract with the Cross Trading agency covering Uefa Champions League club competition rights in Ecuador from 2006-07 to 2008-09.
Cross Trading, an offshore company registered in the Pacific island of Niue, paid $111,000 (€97,800) for the rights before selling them on to Ecuadorian broadcaster Teleamazonas for $311,000. Cross Trading is a subsidiary of the Full Play agency. In an unrelated matter, Full Play owner Hugo Jinkis was alleged by US prosecutors last year to have paid bribes and kickbacks to different football executives for media and marketing rights.
In a statement this afternoon, Uefa said: “Uefa can confirm that today we received a visit from the office of the Swiss Federal Police acting under a warrant and requesting sight of the contracts between Uefa and Cross Trading / Teleamazonas. Naturally, Uefa is providing the Federal Police with all relevant documents in our possession and will cooperate fully.”
Uefa has denied any wrongdoing by any of its officials or its marketing partner, Team Marketing. Infantino said yesterday that he was “dismayed” by the reports and “will not accept that my integrity is being doubted.”
Meanwhile, the investigative body of Fifa’s Ethics Committee has opened formal proceedings against Trujillo, who last month became the 42nd individual or entity charged as part of the US investigation into corruption in world football.
Trujillo, who was licensed by world football’s governing body, pleaded guilty to money laundering and wire fraud conspiracy in a New York City court in March, admitting that he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to secure media and marketing contracts.
Prosecutors said Trujillo, a Colombian citizen and US legal permanent resident, agreed to forfeit $495,000 after admitting to participating in multiple schemes to bribe football officials since 2008, while he was licensed by Fifa, to negotiate and arrange matches between member associations.
Trujillo is alleged to have worked on behalf of multiple sports marketing companies and his own football business when he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to bribe high-ranking officials of Fifa and four national federations in Central America and the Caribbean. Trujillo said he worked with executives of a Miami-based sports marketing company, Imagina Group-affiliated Media World, from 2008 to 2015 to pay the bribes to top officials.
The charges against Trujillo came as a part of the US probe that has already resulted in the arrests of 16 men, mostly from Central and South America. The Ethics Committee said today that it elected to open proceedings after examining the most significant evidence and considering the plea of Trujillo in the New York court. Fifa said in a statement: “As an organising agent of Fifa matches, he had the obligation to observe the Code of Ethics of Fifa.”
The investigative body shall investigate payments transferred by Trujillo to various football officials. Cornel Borbely, chairman of the investigatory chamber, will be leading the investigation.