Mar 9, 2023 - Sports

Former Fox exec found guilty in bribery scheme for soccer game rights

Hernan Lopez during a 2012 interview in Bangalore, India. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint via Getty Images

A New York federal jury found a former 21st Century Fox executive guilty on Thursday in an alleged scheme to bribe FIFA officials for lucrative soccer game broadcasting rights.

Driving the news: Hernan Lopez was convicted of conspiring to commit wire fraud and launder money, but co-defendant Carlos Martinez was acquitted on the same charges, per a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York.

  • Argentinian sports marketing company Full Play Group S.A. was also convicted in the alleged scheme.

The big picture: The case comes from a large-scale corruption probe in international soccer and FIFA, which has resulted in several convictions since 2015, per Reuters.

Zoom in: Prosecutors said Lopez engaged in an alleged scheme to pay millions of dollars in bribes to South American soccer officials in order to secure broadcasting rights the Copa Libertadores — the region’s most popular club tournament, among other events.

  • He also "relied on loyalty secured through the payment of bribes" to advance the business interests of Fox, including to obtain confidential bidding information for the rights to broadcast the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments in the U.S., rights which Fox successfully obtained," the U.S. Attorney's office said.

What we're watching: Lopez faces up to 40 years in prison and millions of dollars in penalties, per the U.S. Attorney's office.

  • Full Play faces millions of dollars in financial penalties, according to prosecutors.
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