Fifagate: Ex-vice president Hawit allowed to return to Honduras

New York (AFP) – Former FIFA vice president Alfredo Hawit was spared further jail time Monday as a US judge told him to return home to Honduras, four years after he pleaded guilty in the “Fifagate” corruption scandal.

Hawit, the ex-president of CONCACAF, football’s governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean, pleaded guilty in April 2016 to four counts relating to the bribery affair that sent shockwaves through FIFA.

The charges included racketeering and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

During a videoconference hearing before New York judge Pamela Chen on Monday, the 68-year-old said through an interpreter that he was “very sorry” for his crimes.

Chen said that Hawit had shown “an extraordinary acceptance of responsibility” as she sentenced him to time already spent in prison.

That included time served in Switzerland, where he was arrested in December 2015, before his extradition to the United States where he was briefly imprisoned and then placed under house arrest.

Hawit will be put on two years’ probation when he returns to Honduras and is barred from holding any position in a football organization during that time.

His lawyer said Hawit hoped to take a repatriation flight organized by Honduran consulate for its nationals unable to get home via commercial flights canceled because of coronavirus.

The $200 million bribery scandal led to the arrests of dozens of soccer executives — many of them Latin American — and culminated in the downfall of FIFA boss Sepp Blatter.

The US government has indicted some 45 people and several sports companies of wrongdoing. A total of 26 have pleaded guilty, and at least six have been sentenced.

The hearings exposed millions of dollars paid in bribes paid by companies to football officials in exchange for television and marketing rights.

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