Plea deal: Chuck Blazer acted as FBI informant, forfeited nearly $2 million
The. U.S. government unsealed former FIFA official Chuck Blazer's 2013 plea agreement on Monday, publicly acknowledging for the first time that Blazer was acting as an undercover informant for the FBI and assisting the investigation that led to the recent Department of Justice indictment of 14 soccer executives and business partners.
Blazer also agreed to forfeit $1,958,092.72 prosecutors say he received from bribes, kick backs and illegal sales of World Cup tickets, as well as pay the IRS the $11 million he owed in unpaid taxes.
In exchange for his cooperation, the U.S. agreed to recommend a lighter sentence for Blazer, who faced 75 years in prison if convicted on all charges. It is possible he could avoid jail time altogether.
A federal judge had ordered on Thursday to unseal the document and gave the government until Monday to decide whether to appeal the ruling. Several news organizations, including The New York Times and ABC, petitioned the court earlier this month to unseal the document.
Blazer, 70, was CONCACAF's secretary general from 1990 until 2011 and was a FIFA executive committee member from 1997 until 2013. He agreed to plead guilty to 10 bribery- and tax-related charges and cooperate with the U.S. investigation in exchange for a more lenient sentence.
Blazer's cooperation with U.S. authorities had been widely reported in the media, but when the government unsealed its indictment of the 14 FIFA associates last month he was identified only as "Co-Conspirator #1."
The testimony Blazer gave at his plea hearing in November 2013 was unsealed two weeks ago. In his testimony, Blazer said he and other FIFA executive committee members accepted bribes for the 1998 and 2010 World Cups, as well as for five Gold Cups.
- Dan Gartland