Former FIFA member Chuck Blazer pleads guilty

Published 9:02 am Thursday, May 28, 2015

NEW YORK — Former FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer appears to have provided key information that has been central to the Justice Department’s soccer corruption investigation, linking other officials in the Americas to a series of schemes.

When indictments were unsealed Wednesday charging nine soccer officials and five other men with racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud related to bribes and kickbacks stretching back more than two decades, the U.S. government revealed Blazer pleaded guilty 1 1/2 years ago. Prosecutors also announced two sons of former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner pleaded guilty.

Information from the three men appears to have been central to the Justice Department’s investigations. Much of the money passed through U.S. banks, giving federal officials the power to go after offenders from around the world.

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“All of these defendants abused the U.S. financial system and violated U.S. law,” Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said.

The longtime No. 2 official in soccer’s North and Central American and Caribbean region, Blazer is known for his large belly, bushy beard, theatrical lifestyle and adeptness at gaining a voice for the U.S. among the sport’s international power brokers. He also is known at Mr. 10 Percent, for his employment contracts that included 10 percent commissions on any deals he negotiated.