Former Venezuelan soccer president pleads guilty in New York


NEW YORK (AP) — Former Venezuela soccer federation president Rafael Esquivel has pleaded guilty to federal charges in New York.

The case is part of a U.S. investigation into alleged corruption among senior figures in the sport and its top governing body, FIFA (FEE’-fuh).

Esquivel pleaded guilty Thursday to racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. Prosecutors say he participated in bribery schemes related to the awarding of contracts for the media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments.

He faces up to 20 years in prison on each count. As part of his plea, he’s also agreed to forfeit $16 million.

Esquivel was president of the Venezuelan soccer federation from 1988 to 2015. He also was a vice president of the South American soccer confederation CONMEBOL (KOHN’-may-bohl).

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