(Adds sentencing details in paragraphs 2, 3, attorney comments in paragraph 7)
By Luke Cohen
NEW YORK, May 12 (Reuters) – A former Argentine businessman who pleaded guilty in the sprawling FIFA corruption investigation will face no time in prison after his testimony contributed to the US convictions of South American football officials and a television executive .
Alejandro Burzaco, the former head of Argentine sports marketing company Torneos y Competencias, was sentenced to prison in Brooklyn federal court on Friday by U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen.
No fine has been imposed. The defendant previously forfeited approximately $21.7 million.
Burzaco, 58, had pleaded guilty to three counts of racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy in 2015 and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
He admitted to paying bribes and kickbacks to officials of the world governing body FIFA and regional affiliates for marketing rights to tournaments, including the World Cup and the Copa America.
Burzaco also said Qatar bribed FIFA officials to host the 2022 World Cup, which the Middle East country denies.
“We are very happy” with the sentence, Burzaco’s lawyer Jim Walden said in an interview. “Alejandro and his family are grateful to Judge Chen for her compassion and wisdom, and to the prosecutors for acknowledging the substantial good Alejandro has done.”
Prosecutors have not recommended a specific sentence for Burzaco. A spokesman for U.S. attorney Breon Peace in Brooklyn had no additional comment.
The FIFA corruption investigation has led to numerous convictions since US and international authorities announced their first arrests in 2015.
At a 2017 trial, Burzaco told jurors he paid bribes to Juan Angel Napout, the former head of the South American governing body CONMEBOL; former Brazilian soccer chief Jose Maria Marin and former president of the Peruvian soccer federation Manuel Burga to secure the rights to matches.
Napout and Marin were convicted and Burga was found not guilty.
Burzaco also testified this year at the trial of Hernan Lopez and Carlos Martinez, two former 21st Century Fox executives accused of bribing football officials for broadcast rights. Lopez and sports marketing company Full Play Group SA were convicted and Martinez was acquitted. (Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel; editing by Ed Osmond and Bill Berkrot)
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