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A former marketing executive from Argentina has testified at a New York trial he arranged to pay 30 soccer officials about $160 million in bribes since the early 2000s.
Alejandro Burzaco offered the estimate on Thursday at the trial of three former South American soccer officials accused in the FIFA (FEE'-fuh) bribery scandal.
Defense attorneys for the officials spent the day cross-examining Burzaco, who is testifying as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors in Brooklyn.
The defendants are among more than 40 officials and excutives accused of taking part in an international scheme involving tens of millions of dollars in bribes tied to the awards of lucrative broadcasting and hosting rights for soccer tournaments.
Soccer's governing body says it "strongly supports" the U.S. prosecution of any officials who abused their positions for personal benefit.
FIFA (FEE'-fuh) issued a statement Thursday emphasizing that it is a victim of alleged wrongdoing and will seek restitution if defendants are convicted at a New York trial.
Defense attorneys have been cross-examining a key government witness at the trial of three former South American soccer officials charged in the sport's widespread bribery scandal.
Defense attorneys have begun cross-examining a key government witness at the U.S. trial of three former South American soccer officials charged in the FIFA bribery scandal.
A lawyer for Juan Angel Napout, the ex-president of Paraguay's soccer federation, pressed former marketing executive Alejandro Burzaco on Thursday about whether he personally paid any bribes to Napout.
Burzaco testified that he never directly gave money to Napout. He said that millions of dollars in bribes were instead channeled through various business entities before reaching the defendant.
Napout and the other soccer officials have pleaded not guilty to racketeering conspiracy and other charges. They're accused of taking part in a 24-year international scheme involving $150 million in bribes in exchange for lucrative broadcasting and hosting rights for soccer tournaments.
Testimony is continuing while a New York judge and others review prosecutors' claims that a former South American soccer official made a slashing motion across his throat as their star witness testified at his bribery trial.
U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen has been scrutinizing video that prosecutors say backs their claim. The issue was tabled on Thursday while testimony resumed.
Prosecutors said the defendant, Manuel Burga, made a threatening gesture Wednesday while staring at a former sports marketing executive.
The defense says Burga was merely scratching his neck.
Burga, Jose Maria Marin and Juan Angel Napout have pleaded not guilty to charges they took part in a 24-year scheme involving at least $150 million in bribes that secured tournament broadcasting and hosting rights in the sprawling FIFA (FEE'-fuh) scandal.