Former Fox Executive Lopez and Marketing Firm Acquitted in FIFA Bribery Case


In March, Lopez and Play Group SA were convicted of wire fraud and money laundering. Lopez was accused of bribing Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (CONMEBOL) officials to win broadcasting rights for the Copa Libertadores, the highest continental club tournament in South America.

Prosecutors had claimed then that Full Play bribed CONMEBOL and Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) administrators for securing media and marketing rights to Copa Libertadores and World Cup qualifying matches.

However, Judge Pamela K. Chen of the Brooklyn Federal Court, has granted an acquittal, citing the United States Supreme Court decision in May to overthrow the wire fraud conviction of Joseph Percoco, an aide to former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“The court concludes … the evidence at trial was insufficient to sustain Defendants’ honest services wire fraud convictions … because the statute does not apply to foreign commercial bribery schemes,” Chen wrote.

“The court therefore grants defendants’ motions to acquit on all counts of conviction.” Lopez’ lawyer David Sarratt said his team was pleased with “Judge Chen’s thorough and correct decision”. The decision is however being reviewed by the US Attorney’s Office, according to spokesman John Marzulli.

Full Play lawyer Carlos F. Ortiz said he was “grateful” for the court’s decision. The probe that started in 2015 saw more than 40 defendants criminally charged with at least 31 pleading guilty. Among those convicted include former Brazilian Football Confederation President José Maria Marin and ex-South American Football Confederation head Juan Ángel Napout.