In less than six month after a federal court convicted a former Fox worker and an Argentine marketing sports company of involvement in A scheme for paying bribes in A judge has agreed to lucrative contracts for soccer broadcasting in exchange for a lucrative contract. in Brooklyn vacated its convictions on Friday.
The aforementioned is a 55-page rulingThe judge Pamela K. Chen concluded that the federal wire-fraud statute, under which defendants were convicted, did not apply to the defendants’ actions.
A seven-week trial ended. in March, prosecutors alleged that Hernán López, who holds dual American and Argentine citizenship and who until 2016 worked for a unit of what was then known as 21st Century Fox, had been part of a scheme to make millions of dollars in Secret payments made to presidents of national soccer associations in In order to secure rights to two popular South American soccer tournaments.
Mr. Lopez — who prosecutors also said had leveraged loyalty he garnered through bribes to help Fox beat out ESPN in its bid for the U.S. broadcasting rights for the 2018 and 2022 men’s World Cups — was convicted on one count of money laundering conspiracy and one count of wire fraud conspiracy. He could have faced a 40-year sentence in prison.
Prosecutors said that Mr. López’s co-defendant, the sports marketing company Full Play Group, had paid bribes for the rights to multiple World Cup qualifiers, exhibition matches and tournaments. Full Play was found guilty of six counts of fraud and money laundering and faced stiff financial penalties.
Key Factor in Judge Chen’s decision, handed down late Friday, was the scope of a law under which the defendants had been charged, known as the honest services wire fraud statute.
Judge Chen cited a Supreme Court ruling in the U.S. in May, in The justices overturned two fraud convictions that stemmed from public corruption prosecutions under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration in New York. In Percoco V. United States, one of the cases the justices looked at, they considered whether an ex-aide of Mr. Cuomo can be prosecuted based on a federal law which makes it illegal to deprive government of funds. “honest services” For conduct that occurred after he left government service.
The absence of precedent relating to the application of this law to foreign employees of non-government employers abroad, Judge Chen wrote in Her ruling that she had to “find that the honest services wire fraud statute does not encompass foreign commercial bribery as charged against defendants.”
“We are obviously pleased with Judge Chen’s thorough and correct decision,” John Gleeson, a lawyer for Mr. López, said in A statement was made on Saturday.
Lawyers for Full Play wrote in On Saturday, their client released a statement. “greatly appreciates the court’s complete vindication.”
The case in Brooklyn was just one of several cases that grew out of a U.S. Department of Justice corruption investigation into international soccer officials. The investigation lasted for years and resulted in over two dozen convictions, as well as more than $100 million. in forfeitures.
Beyond the immediate acquittals of Mr. López and Full Play, the ruling could have significant implications for other defendants in The sprawling case. The first trial resulted in the conviction of two South American soccer officials. in The charges against at least four others who have evaded expulsion, including Full Play’s Argentine owner, could be dropped. To date, the court is not speaking about these issues.
John Marzulli, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York, said on Saturday that the prosecutor’s office was reviewing the decision.