Ex-Honduran President Rafael Callejas pleads guilty in FIFA corruption case

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Former Honduran President Rafael Callejas has pleaded guilty in U.S. court for his involvement in bribery schemes involving lucrative broadcasting rights at soccer’s world governing body FIFA.

Callejas, who is 72, entered his guilty plea in federal court in Brooklyn before United States Magistrate Judge Robert Levy, admitting that he took bribes from Media World while he served as the head of the Honduran soccer federation.

According to prosecutors, Callejas accepted bribes from Media World so that the company could obtain media and marketing rights for qualifier matches ahead of the 2014, 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments. It is part of a wider scandal that allegedly involved more than a dozen top officials at FIFA.

Callejas could face up to 40 years in prison on the charges of racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy, but he is likely to receive a much lighter penalty. The former president voluntarily came to the United States to face the charges and has agreed to forfeit $650,000. He remains under house arrest.

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