AFC suspends Guam chief over bribes

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Kuala Lumpur

Asia’s football body suspended Guam’s soccer chief, Richard Lai, with immediate effect on Friday after he pleaded guilty to taking nearly $1 million in bribes.
Lai, an Asian Football Confederation executive committee member who also sits on FIFA’s audit and compliance committee, admitted receiving a string of large bribes in a federal court in New York.
“The chairman of the Asian Football Confederation Disciplinary and Ethics Committee has provisionally suspended Richard Lai from football with immediate effect,” an AFC statement said.
Lai, a 55-year-old US citizen, admitted receiving $100,000 in bribes from an AFC official in 2011, in exchange for voting for him for FIFA president.
He also pleaded guilty to receiving more than $850,000 in bribes between 2009 and 2014 from a faction of soccer officials wanting his help to influence FIFA and gain control of the AFC.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud conspiracy and one count of failing to disclose foreign bank accounts, and agreed to pay $1.1 million in fines and forfeiture.
A large-scale US investigation has seen federal prosecutors in New York indict around 40 football and sports marketing executives with allegedly receiving tens of millions of bribes and kickbacks.—AFP

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