FIFA bribery trial kicks off in New York

first_img“They all cheated the sport,” said Edelman of the three defendants, “in order to line their own pockets with money that should have been spent to benefit the sport.”“The evidence will show that for over 20 years, the defendants co-conspired and abused the system,” he said.“They agreed to receive secret bribes, taking away money that could have been spent to promote the sport.”In their own opening statements, lawyers for the three defendants admitted there was widespread corruption at FIFA but argued that their clients were not involved.The trial is due to last five to six weeks, and prosecutors are expected to present 350,000 pages of evidence and dozens of witnesses.If convicted, they will be sentenced by Judge Pamela Chen. The most serious counts each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years.Tens of millions of dollars were hidden in offshore accounts in Hong Kong, the Cayman Islands and Switzerland, US officials said.Around two dozen defendants have already pleaded guilty, and two of them were last month sentenced to jail — Guatemalan ex-soccer official Hector Trujillo to eight months and British-Greek accountant Costas Takkas to 15 months.The others who await sentencing include Jeffrey Webb, of the Cayman Islands, who admitted to receiving more than $6 million in bribes and whose millionaire lifestyle while under house arrest — quaffing champagne, gambling and partying — has infuriated FIFA’s lawyers.While the US investigation did not indict ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter, he was thrown out of the sport in 2015 after FIFA’s ethics committee found him guilty of making an improper two million Swiss franc ($2.1 million) payment to then-UEFA chief Michel Platini.Blatter was banned from soccer for six years, and Platini, his former heir apparent, for four years.Share on: WhatsApp New York, United States | AFP | Three South American former soccer officials were blinded by greed and accepted millions of dollars in bribes, US prosecutors told the FIFA corruption trial Monday as defense lawyers insisted their wealthy clients were innocent.Forty-two officials and marketing executives, and three companies were indicted in an exhaustive 236-page complaint detailing 92 separate crimes and 15 corruption schemes to the tune of $200 million.It was the largest graft scandal in the history of world soccer, first unveiled by US government prosecutors in May 2015 and lifting the lid on a quarter of a century of endemic corruption in the heart of FIFA, soccer’s governing body.Yet only three of them are going on trial — a trio of once-powerful soccer officials from South America, charged with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies.Their fate will be decided by an anonymous jury, chosen after documented attempts at intimidation. The 12-member panel with six alternates was selected after four days of screening last week.“Lurking underneath the surface are lies, greed and corruption,” US assistant attorney Keith Edelman told jurors in opening remarks Monday, recounting a meeting of soccer officials from all over the world at a Miami hotel in May 2014.“Some of these officials had other reasons to celebrate, they had agreed to receive millions of dollars in bribes regarding the (Copa America) tournament,” he told the federal court in Brooklyn, New York.The most high-profile defendant is Jose Maria Marin, 85, former president of Brazil’s Football Confederation — the sport’s organizing body in one of the premier soccer-playing nations in the world.Since extradition after his 2015 arrest by Swiss police in a five-star hotel, he has been out on bail, living in luxury at Trump Tower, the Fifth Avenue skyscraper best known for housing the penthouse and company headquarters of the US president.Also in the dock is former FIFA vice president Juan Angel Napout, 59, and Manuel Burga, who led soccer in Peru until 2014 and once served as a FIFA development committee member.All three have pleaded not guilty.– ‘Cheated the sport’ –last_img read more

Thurston County Nominated for SportsEvents Magazine’s 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards

first_imgFacebook6Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Experience Olympia & BeyondThurston County’s Sports Commission (Experience Olympia & Beyond) has been nominated for SportsEvents Magazine’s 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards. The awards recognize destination marketing organizations, host cities and sports venues who have hosted sports events that exceeded expectation.Great Northwest Athletic Conference Basketball Championships at Saint Martin’s University. Photo courtesy: Experience Olympia & BeyondThe news comes after a successful year of hosting the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s (GNAC) basketball and softball championships for the second year in a row and helping to bring the Northwest Athletic Conference’s (NWAC) cross country championships to the region this weekend at Saint Martin’s University. Experience Olympia & Beyond, along with the help of local sports facilities, support sporting events by assembling bid packages, providing hospitality, sponsorships and referrals to local businesses.“We are honored to be one of five destinations in Washington State nominated for this award as it highlights the great collaboration and excellent sports venues we have in the region. Our team is working hard to bring even more sports events to Thurston County,” said Shauna Stewart, executive director of Experience Olympia and Beyond.SportsEvents Magazine Readers’ can vote here for their favorite destination in each state. Winners will be recognized with a Readers’ Choice Award and featured in the January 2018 issue. Voting ends Friday, November 10 at 10:00 a.m.last_img read more

Lunch Break Looks to Expand RB Facilities

first_imgRED BANK – Lunch Break is looking to expand.The soup kitchen and food panty, which has been providing food, clothing and the wherewithal for those in need in Red Bank and the surrounding area for nearly 30 years, is seeking borough approval to expand its facility. The organization is looking to build an addition on adjacent properties because of what its executive director said is an increasing need for its services.“We’ve definitely outgrown the space,” said Gwendolyn Love, “even for what we’re doing now.”Love sat at a table in the 121 Drs. James Parker Blvd. facility during lunchtime on Aug. 30 as volunteers and employees worked and moved briskly, serving lunch to the crowd.As she discussed the need for more space to conduct its various programs, a woman approached the table. Chandelle Morris, who lives on Bank Street, sat down at the table with her tray and its modest lunch, a small piece of cake and fruit juice. Morris said she doesn’t have breakfast or dinner most days, relying on her lunch here as her primary meal. “It’s something I look forward to when I get up in the morning,” she said.She thanked Love for what Lunch Break had to offer and turned and said, “They are saving my life.”Love glanced over with smile and thanked Morris for making her point about the work Lunch Break does and the need for the expansion.“We believe Lunch Break can be an instrument in the community to allow people to make it to the next level,” Love said.In June 2011 Justin and Victoria Gmelich, a Rumson couple, donated to Lunch Break two properties on the boulevard, each with a vacant single-family residential home, according to Love.Lunch Break representatives will appear at the borough Zoning Board of Adjustment on Thursday, Sept. 20, with its application to combine those lots and build an addition to the current site.According to the application on file at the borough’s Planning and Zoning Depart­ment, Lunch Break would demolish the existing homes at 113-115 Drs. James Parker Blvd. and use that 7,320-square-foot tract to expand the current 2,989-square-foot facility and build a 2,091-square-foot addition.The addition’s first floor, Love said, will be used, in part, to house Lunch Break’s clothing distribution program. Currently, it operates the program on Saturdays out of the dining area, where individuals and families can come to select free clothing and small household items they need.If the application is approved, the public will be able to drop off donations and pick up items from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.Lunch Break could also use the site for its other clothing program, called Suited for Success, where clients can get clothing appropriate for job interviews.Along with those programs, Lunch Break would continue to operate its “Internet café” on site, where clients have access to computers and use the Internet connections, often to help locate work.The remainder of the site would be used for administrative offices, file and supply storage and to provide space for the various social service agencies that regularly appear to assist Lunch Break clients.“The new space will allow us to function more efficiently,“ Love said.The addition will “create a one-stop shopping” site for clients, who often don’t have cars or money for mass transit to visit social services offices, Love said.“Business has been too good,” she acknowledged. The facility has been seeing a growing need for services.“With the economy the way it is, with people looking for help, with new people looking for that help, Lunch Break will help them move to that next level in their life,” Love said. “It’s not a handout, it’s a hand up.” By John Burtonlast_img read more

Sea Bright Residents Can Visit Property Monday, Tuesday; 56 Buildings Deemed…

first_imgBy Michele J. KuhnWEST LONG BRANCH – Sea Bright residents will be permitted to check on their homes and retrieve essential items  – according to a set scheduled – on Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 5-6, and most likely will not be able to move back until they have obtained a Certificate of Occupancy.Residents are also bracing for a nor’ester than is predicted to hit the area Wednesday, bringing with it high winds, and heavy rains.While the damage in Sea Bright has been extreme, there has been no loss of life, Mayor Dina Long said. “Thank you…  for hanging in there … for keeping the faith,” he said before requesting a moment of silence and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.Long held a meeting Sunday afternoon outside in the stadium at Shore Regional High School to update the resident of the borough that was hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy. Hundreds of residents sat on metal bleachers in the chilly air and listened to Long as she and other officials spoke over a bullhorn.The mayor told residents that all properties in the borough had been assessed for damage and that 56 were deemed to be uninhabitable and no admittance could be gained. Others had been deemed as substantially damaged; still others had from little visible damage to varying degrees of damage.“Every single house in Sea bright sustained some damage,” Councilman C. Read Murphy told the shivering crowd.Each borough property has been inspected and its assessment is listed on the borough’s website at www.seabrightnj.org.“We have moved heaven and earth to get you in to your property,” Long said of the schedule officials mapped out for residents to return briefly to their homes.Those living in the northern end of the borough up to the Rumson Bridge may visit their property from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5. Those with property south of the bridge may visit from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6.Residents may bring bags to get essential items to the foot of the Rumson Bridge during those hours. There they will be put on shuttle buses and dropped at their property. They will later be picked up and shuttled back to Rumson. “Please do not bring children. Please do not bring pets,” she said. Long also asked that resident not walk around the borough because conditions are still considered dangerous.While visiting their homes, residents can board their windows with plywood and supplies donated by Builder’s General. Borough employees will be able to help residents with the window boarding.While Long said she believed residents with would not be able to go back to their homes with full access for themselves and their cars until Monday, Nov. 12, Councilman James LoBiondo said he believed it could be this Friday, Nov. 9. Long later said she hoped LoBiondo’s assessment was the correct one. She called the situation in Sea Bright “fluid” with changes occurring on a regular basis.LoBiondo reported to the cheers of the residents that all gas leaks had been contained but service would be shut off to half of the borough for up to a month because of the damage to the system.Sewer pumps that were damaged in town were being replaced this week.Water service has not been interrupted and the system would not be shut down because officials wanted to keep the sprinkler systems in buildings with them operational. However, resident who had burst pipes were told they could shut off water to their homes, if it could be safely done.LoBiondo said the fire department has been going door-to-door to look for noticeable water pipe breaks.Crews from Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) were working Sunday in town, along with power company crews from as far away as Ohio, to restore power. They were initially replacing or straightening utility poles and checking their status. Once that was completed, they would begin repairing or restringing power lines.Six feet of sand was blown onto Sea Bright streets and could be fouling various service lines. Crews were working to check them and were looking to see if storm sewer lines needed to have sand blown out of them to help lessen the impact of any flooding from the anticipated storm this week.Councilman Murphy reported that the seawall had been breached in two placed, near Tradewinds and the old Anchorage beach clubs.Murphy praised the mayor and council and said they all had “boots on the ground since day 1” to assist residents and get the borough back to as near normal as possible. Long also praised council members, borough employees, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Monmouth County for its response to the disaster.A representative of FEMA told the crowd that he worked in Washington. D.C. and had worked on other East Coast hurricane recoveries. “I toured your area a couple of days ago,” he said, “and, to be honest with you, it blew me away.” He urged residents to call FEMA (1-800-621-3362) and get a case number so the agency can assist them.Representatives from FEMA will be available on Tuesday at the Fair Haven Fire Department on River Road — where Sea Bright residents are to cast ballots on Election Day — to help answer questions and assist residents. Phones will be avaiable for those who need to contact loved ones or their insurance companies.Long said Bingham Hall, 40 Bingham Ave, in Rumson was a place where residents could go for warm clothing, a hot meal, hot showers and take care of other needs. Food, water and cleaning supplies will also be available at the VNA office at 141 Bodman Place in Red Bank. The mayor urged residents to keep checking the borough’s website for updates and not to believe rumors that have been swirling about.Rescue workers got a bit of a boost Sunday when world class chefs David Burke of David Burke Fromagerie in Rumson, Chris Wood of Woody’s Ocean Grille in Sea Bright, Pat Trama of Ama Ristorante at Driftwood  and others brought food and equipment to the Sea Bright Firehouse and cooked them a meal.last_img read more