Testimony: Fox Sports involved in soccer bribes

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A government witness in the Federation Internationale de Football Association corruption trial said Fox Sports and several other broadcast networks paid bribes to Federation Internationale de Football Association for soccer broadcasting rights, according to Ken Bensinger of BuzzFeed.

Three South Americans are on trial in New York - Jose Maria Marin, ex-head of Brazil's Football Confederation; former FIFA vice president Juan Angel Napout and Manuel Braga, who led Peru's soccer federation until 2014.

Alejandro Burzaco, a witness for the prosecution in the case, said in court that he was aware of six media companies involved in bribes, including Fox, O Globo from Brazil, Media Pro from Spain, and Televisa from Mexico. Torneos and Fox Sports, a unit of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, jointly owned a sports marketing venture, T&T Sports Marketing Ltd, according to Burzaco.

A spokesperson from FOX Sports did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"They had presidential or diplomatic or royal treatment", Burzaco testified.

They were whisked around by private jet, with "three or four Mercedes" parked on the tarmac ready and waiting on arrival at CONMEBOL headquarters.

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Burzaco said that Grondona told him in January 2011 to also pay him Teixeria's $1m Copa America bribe, which the Brazilian "owed him" as "Grondona voted for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup". "Are you the one not voting for Qatar?'" he quoted them as saying.

Burzaco also testified Tuesday that he had personally bribed Burga, Marin, and Napout for a three- or five-year period, beginning in 2010.

A month later, Grondona received 1 million from Teixeira for voting for Qatar, Burzaco said.

The court was presented with a sham contract written by T&T Sports and signed by the former Fox Pan American Sports chief operating officer James Ganley, which Burzaco said was created to pay out $3.7m in bribes to Conmebol officials to keep the rights to the tournament.

Prosecutors have said that the three men and other soccer officials took bribes from sports marketing companies in exchange for lucrative marketing and media rights to soccer tournaments.

That fake contract allowed Fox Sports to extend its media rights for Copa America and other events from 2015 to 2018 and to launch Fox Sports 2 and Fox Sports 3 in multiple countries, Burzaco said.

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