US Imagina, a division of sports media group Imagina, has been ordered to pay $24m (€20.5m) after pleading guilty yesterday (Tuesday) to bribing Latin American football officials.
Erika Lucas, US Imagina’s general counsel, told the US District Court hearing that the company started to bribe officials from the Caribbean Football Union, as well as the national associations of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, around 2008.
The bribes were paid to secure media and marketing rights for qualifying matches ahead of the 2014, 2018 and 2022 editions of the Fifa World Cup.
According to Lucas, Roger Huguet, a US Imagina executive, agreed a deal in 2012 with the Traffic Group agency to split the cost of a bribe to Jeffrey Webb, who was then serving as president of Concacaf, the sport’s governing body in North and Central America and the Caribbean.
US District Judge Pamela Chen ordered Imagina US to pay a fine of $12.9m, plus damages of about $6.7m. The company was also told to forfeit about $5.3m in criminal proceeds.
The fine will be paid by the division’s parent company, which is based in Spain.
“As part of the agreement, no charges are being brought against Spain-based Imagina Media Audiovisual SL, which received credit for its continuing and substantial cooperation with the government's investigation,” the parent company said.