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Corruption: Ex-FIFA Official Pleads Guilty to $950,000 Bribery Charges



Richard Lai pleads guilty to corruption

Photo credit: ESPN

Richard Lai, a former FIFA official and current president of the Guam Football Association has been suspended for 90 days after he pleaded guilty to giving and taking bribes. He admitted two counts of “wire fraud conspiracy in connection with his participation in multiple schemes to accept and pay bribes to soccer officials,” according to the attorney’s office.

According to ESPN, the 55-year-old U.S. citizen, accepted a $100,000 bribe to vote for an official from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in 2011 and between 2009-2014 collected more than $850,000 of bribes for activities within the Asian region.

As part of the plea, Lai has agreed to pay $1.1 million, prosecutors said.

Today’s plea marks another important step in our ongoing effort to root out corruption in international soccer. The defendant abused the trust placed in him as a soccer official in order to line his own pockets, and now he will be held to account. The defendant’s breach of trust was particularly significant given his position as a member of the FIFA audit and compliance committee, which must play an important and independent role if corruption within FIFA is to be eliminated.”acting US attorney Bridget Rohde said.

Investigations into FIFA corruption by US and Swiss authorities are ongoing.

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