Ex-sports marketing executive to plead guilty in FIFA bribe case

NEW YORK: A former sports marketing executive who was arrested last year in a US corruption probe involving soccer's global governing body FIFA is scheduled to plead guilty on Thursday, according to a court filing.

The plea by Aaron Davidson, who headed the Miami-based unit of Brazilian sports marketing firm Traffic Group, was disclosed in a scheduling order filed in federal court in Brooklyn on Tuesday.

A lawyer for Davidson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Davidson was first charged in May 2015. He is one of 42 individuals and entities charged as part of a US investigation that upended Zurich-based FIFA and the soccer world.

Prosecutors have alleged the defendants engaged in schemes involving more than $200 million in bribes and kickbacks that were sought and received by soccer officials for marketing and broadcasting rights to tournaments and matches.

Prosecutors accused Davidson of participating in schemes to bribe soccer officials to secure millions of dollars in sports marketing contracts for Traffic.

In total, 17 people and two companies have pleaded guilty, including the owner of Traffic, Brazilian José Hawilla. Davidson had been among seven defendants who meanwhile were set to face trial in November 2017.

Prosecutors are continuing to seek the extradition of some of the other foreign defendants.

Earlier on Tuesday, an Argentine judge denied a US request to extradite father-and-son sports marketing team Hugo and Mariano Jinkis and former regional soccer chief Eduardo Deluca.