By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
Former Guatemala Constitutional Court Judge and former General Secretary of the Guatemala Soccer Federation, Hector Trujillo, is the first offender to be sentenced in the US in the FIFA world bribery scandals.
Trujillo pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy in June (see GSLTR website post of 11 June by Jonathan Copping), and, on 25 October, a Brooklyn Federal Court Judge in New York City, US, sentenced him to 8 months’ imprisonment and also ordered him to pay US$415,000 in restitution.
When sentencing him, the Judge remarked that the money he took in bribes should have been used to build soccer fields for poor children and provide uniforms for young players!
Trujillo, who is one of 42 people and entities involved in the US investigations into the FIFA bribery scandals, said that his conscience failed him when he accepted the bribes, but added that he considered the payments were a reward for his hard work and were common practice.
The Prosecution had called for a prison sentence of more than 3 years, but it seems that the Judge, who gave him a more lenient one, took into account that Trujillo had pleaded guilty and did not violate Guatemalan Law, but, of course, he did break FIFA rules.
It may be noted that there are ongoing investigations by Prosecutors in Switzerland and that FIFA has also conducted its own internal investigations into these sordid affairs, which cast a dark shadow over ‘the beautiful game’ and will continue to do so for a long time to come!
Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’