American investigators in FIFA scandals have taken a new victim after the Confederation of Guam’s President, Richard Lai, pleaded guilty, leading to a 90-day suspension by the International Federation.
Lai, 55, who has headed the small island federation in the Pacific since 2011, pleaded guilty to federal judge Pamela Chen on charges of corruption and covering bank accounts abroad, according to a statement by the Brooklyn attorney general.
Lay agreed to get 850,000 US dollars in bribes between 2009 and 2014 from officials of the Asian Football Federation, while pledging to promote their interests, including helping to identify other officials in the continental union to pay bribes to them.
Lai also acknowledged the arrest of 100,000 US dollars in bribes in 2011 to support a continental union official in his candidacy for the presidency of the International Federation, according to the prosecutor’s statement, without naming who the candidate is.
As a result of Lai’s confessions, the Ethics Committee in Viva suspended Friday 90 days for any spherical activity, which could be extended for an additional 45 days pending a final decision, according to a FIFA statement.
The Association of Discipline and Ethics in the Asian Union issued a statement in which it decided to “stop Richard Lai from Guam, initially in the exercise of any activity related to football and immediately, according to the Code of Discipline and Ethics of the Union, after the approval of Mr. Lai guilty on charges of fraud during the appearance In a Brooklyn court in New York City on Thursday. ”
“The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) will not comment further on this matter until the investigation is complete,” she said.
Lai was elected in 2007 as a member of the AFC Executive Committee, which was surprising given his country’s small size (540 square kilometers).
He agreed to pay $ 1.1 million in fines and compensation, according to the agreement with the prosecution in exchange for his confessions, which would give him a lighter sentence.
Acting federal prosecutor Bridget Rudd said the suspension was “an important step in our efforts to root out corruption from international football.”
He said his crime was “important because of his responsibilities in the Viva Audit Committee, which is called upon to play an independent role in eliminating corruption within Viva.”
A member of the Audit and Compliance Committee in Viva, headed by Slovenian Thomas Vesel, is a member of the commission examining the salary of President Gianni Infantino.
As of May 2015, the union shook a series of corruption scandals, whose financial and judicial consequences continued.
Swiss police then raided a hotel where a number of union officials were present at a meeting, and 40 people were arrested. Since then, senior EU officials, led by former Swiss President Joseph Blatter, his two deputies, Secretary-General Jerome Falk and financial officer Markus Kattner, have been suspended from sports activities or have been removed from their duties.
FIFA said in June 2016 that Blatter, Falk and Kanter had shared $ 80 million to “personal wealth” through contracts and compensation over five years, particularly through annual increases and bonuses.
Blatter resigned from his post in June 2015, and his compatriot Gianni Infantino was elected to replace him in early 2016.
Many officials have acknowledged the charges against them, with the exception of five scheduled to begin their trial in New York on Nov. 6