Jorge Luis Arzuaga, a 56-year-old from Argentina and private banker formerly employed by several Swiss banks, pleaded guilty on Thursday at a courthouse in Brooklyn, New York to a money laundering charge in connection with the distribution and receipt of millions of dollars paid to high-ranking football officials, "including the late president of the Asociacion del Futbol Argentino."
Julio Grondona, who spent 35 years as the AFA's president and was a senior vice president at FIFA until his death in July 2014, was accused by Arzuaga of accepting millions of dollars in bribes. Grondona isn't referred to by name in the United States Department of Justice's release, and is instead referred to as "Soccer Official #1."
Between 2010 and 2015, Arzuaga was employed as a private banker by two financial institutions based in Switzerland and managed a number of accounts controlled by Alejandro Burzaco, a principal of Torneos y Competencias, which is described as "a sports media and marketing business" based in Argentina.
Arzuaga assisted Burzaco in paying bribes to various football officials, including Grondona, and opened a bank account in the name of a shell company whose true beneficial owner was "Soccer Official #1." More than $25 million was put into the account.
When Grondona died in 2014, Arzuaga arranged for the funds in the account to be distributed among "Soccer Official #1's heirs" and received approximately $1,046,000 in bonus payments from Burzaco for moving the bribe money.
Burzaco was among nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives indicted for racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracies in May 2015, when the corruption scandal surrounding football's governing body first broke. He pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and other offenses in November 2015.
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