Burzaco Told Judge He Regrets Not Leaving Soccer Bribe Scheme
By David Voreacos and Tariq Panja
When former Citigroup Inc. employee Alejandro Burzaco bought a minority stake in an Argentine sports marketing company in 2005, he learned that his new firm had been bribing soccer officials for years, according to court records unsealed on Monday.
Rather than walk away from Torneos y Competencias, Burzaco elected to pay bribes and kickbacks to “multiple” soccer officials for the marketing rights to tournaments, he told a U.S. judge in Brooklyn, New York, last November. The transcript of Burzaco’s guilty plea, entered in a courtroom closed to the public, was unsealed Monday at the request of Bloomberg News.
“I was informed that the agreement had been in place for some time,” said Burzaco. “I know that I should have walk away at that point, but instead, I agreed to work for Torneos, and agreed to take an active role in the bribery schemes. I regret the decision. I was wrong.”
Burzaco, who became the chief executive officer of Torneos in October 2006, said his illicit payments continued until 2015. In pleading guilty, Burzaco said he had worked for 15 years at Citigroup. Bank spokesman Mark Costiglio declined to comment on Burzaco.
The judge also unsealed the guilty plea transcripts of Jose Margulies, who admitted paying bribes, and Jeffrey Webb, a former soccer official.