Marketing firm to pay more than $24M in soccer bribery case

NEW YORK — A Spain-based sports media company must pay a hefty penalty after its U.S. affiliate pleaded guilty to charges it bribed Latin American soccer officials.

A New York City judge ordered the company Imagina on Tuesday to pay more than $24 million in fines and restitution on charges stemming from the U.S. corruption investigation of FIFA, the international football league.

A lawyer for the Florida-based affiliate admitted in court that the company bribed the officials in exchange for marketing rights to qualifying games for the 2014, 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The allegations included an agreement by the company to split the cost of a $3 million bribe to Jeffrey Webb, then president of CONCACAF, the governing body for the sport in the region.

Webb has pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.

Under the plea agreement, more than $6.5 million will go to various CONCACAF member associations in Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador and the Caribbean Football Union.

"As the Confederation and the member associations continue to receive restitution of this kind for the various harms we have suffered, we look forward to working with our member associations and regional unions to direct the payments and reinvest in football and development to grow our sport," CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani said in a statement.

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