Verdict for FIFA’s former media partners trial set in July
4 April 2008
ZUG – A verdict will be announced on 2 July in the criminal trial against six executives of FIFA’s former marketing partner who are accused of fraud and embezzlement.
The date was announced on the seventh day of hearings at a court in Zug.
ISL/ISMM, FIFA’s marketing partner for almost two decades, left debts estimated at CHF 302 million (US$300 million) when it collapsed in 2001.
Its bankruptcy caused a financial crisis at FIFA, which had given ISL/ISMM the concession to sell part of the television and marketing rights for the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.
Swiss prosecutors have called for the men to receive prison terms of 3 to 4 1/2 years.
All six defendants deny the charges, saying FIFA was to blame for ISL/ISMM’s demise.
Prosecutors said last month that millions of Swiss francs in bribes were funnelled through the company’s accounts in Liechtenstein. The money was allegedly used to secure rights deals for major sporting events.
In total, prosecutors say the criminal mishandling at the company amounted to more than CHF 100 million (US$99 million).
During the trial, defence lawyers asked to see documents on a separate case – still under investigation – in which prosecutors are trying to determine who repaid CHF 2.5 million in bribes to the insolvent estate of ISL/ISMM.
Exposing the source of the payment could prove embarrassing for sports officials seeking to avoid being drawn into the bribery scandal revealed by the ISL/ISMM collapse.
[AP / Expatica]