news 1 week ago

FIFA imposes life ban on former CONCACAF official Sanz

The Associated Press

ZURICH (AP) — FIFA has imposed a life ban for bribery on Enrique Sanz, the former general secretary of North American soccer body CONCACAF.

Sanz was easily identified as an unnamed co-conspirator in U.S. Department of Justice documents in 2015 — No. 4 in the original indictment in May that year, and No. 3 in a superseding indictment unsealed that December.

American federal prosecutors alleged that he arranged and took bribes linked to commercial deals for international soccer competitions with other officials linked to FIFA. They included World Cup qualifying games and the 2016 Copa American centenary tournament.

Though Sanz was not publicly charged or sentenced, prosecutors alleged he also took part in bribery schemes working for sports agency Traffic USA before joining CONCACAF in 2012.

The indictment said he obtained an "expensive painting from an art gallery in New York" as a bribe while working for Jeffrey Webb, then CONCACFA's leader and a FIFA vice president. Webb, a banker from the Cayman Islands, pleaded guilty to various financial crimes and is awaiting sentence.

FIFA said its ethics judges charged Sanz with bribery only during his 2012-15 work with CONCACAF. He was found guilty and fined 100,000 Swiss francs ($100,000).

In 2014, the Colombia-born official took a leave of absence from CONCACAF, which also covers Central America and the Caribbean, while being treated for leukemia.

Sanz was suspended by FIFA's ethics committee when the sprawling American investigation was unsealed in May 2015, and he was fired by CONCACAF weeks later.

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