FIFA Official Pleads Guilty in U.S. Court to Money Laundering, Wire Fraud

Miguel Trujillo, a Colombian former FIFA match agent, leaves the Federal Court in Brooklyn, New York, on March 8, 2016, after being released on bail

A FIFA official has pleaded guilty to taking bribes, money laundering, and wire fraud in a far-reaching investigation that has resulted in indictments for 40 soccer officials.

Miguel Trujillo entered his guilty plea on Tuesday in a U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, where a grand jury issued the indictments based on information gathered during FBI and IRS investigations.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Trujillo participated in “multiple schemes to bribe soccer officials.”

Trujillo, who worked as a match agent to coordinate games between soccer teams, pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering as well as two counts of wire fraud and a single count of filing a false tax return with the IRS.

The Colombia native and legal permanent U.S. resident also agreed to forfeit $495,000.

The Justice Department charged that the official “paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to high-ranking officials of FIFA, CONCACAF, and four soccer federations in Central America and the Caribbean in furtherance of multiple schemes involving media and marketing contracts and international friendly matches.”

The wide net cast by U.S. officials didn’t snare former FIFA President Sepp Blatter, but Blatter remains under investigation for corruption in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Blatter was removed from his position as head of the organization and has also been banned from the sport.

Earlier this year a new FIFA head was elected and is expected to put into place a series of reforms to address the corruption plaguing the sport for decades.

Late in February, America’s top soccer chief, Sunil Gulati, praised the new FIFA head, insisting he is “committed to reform.”

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