NEW YORK (AP) — North America’s soccer federation has filed a lawsuit claiming it was victimized by two defendants charged in the FIFA bribery scandal.
In papers filed earlier this week in federal court in Brooklyn, the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football accuses former FIFA officials Jack Warner and Charles Blazer of making a fortune through embezzlement — allegations that mirror those in a sprawling U.S. criminal investigation that has resulted in charges against several top soccer officials.
The suit accuses the pair of negotiating bribes and kickbacks in connection with lucrative broadcasting rights for tournaments including CONCACAF’s Gold Cup championship.
“There can be no doubt that Warner and Blazer victimized CONCACAF, stealing and defrauding it out of tens of millions of dollars in brazen acts of corruption for their own personal benefit at the expense of the entire CONCACAF region,” the suit says.
The suit seeks $20 million in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages.
Blazer has pleaded guilty and cooperated in the criminal probe. One of his attorneys in that case declined comment on Friday.
Warner is fighting extradition in Trinidad and Tobago, where he’s denied any wrongdoing.
FIFA, international soccer’s governing body, filed a restitution claim last year in the criminal case that similarly portrayed it as a victim of the defendants.
“Their actions have deeply tarnished the FIFA brand and impaired FIFA’s ability to use its resources for positive actions throughout the world, and to meet its global mission of supporting and enhancing the game of football, commonly known in the United States as soccer,” it says.
The claim includes a demand for tens of millions in payments, including $10 million it says was stolen by Warner, Blazer and others.
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