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‘Fifagate’ Unleashes Third Straight Corruption Scandal in Honduras

LADB Article ID: 79874
Category/Department: Honduras
Date: 2016-01-28
By: George Rodríguez

Last year was prolific in large-scale corruption scandals in Honduras. The first was the scam that collapsed the impoverished Central American nation’s social security system (NotiCen, July 2, 2015). Then came the arrest, in the United States, of a member of the powerful Rosenthal family accused of involvement in money laundering. More recently, “Fifagate” has sent shock waves through the country. The scandal within the top—and, until recently, seemingly untouchable—echelons of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) did not take long to unveil Honduran participation in a high-level bribery network involving mostly Latin American soccer officials, including a former president of Honduras. May 27, 2015, saw the arrests, in Switzerland, of 18 FIFA officials, mostly Caribbean and Central and South American soccer chiefs. New detentions took place on Dec. 3, again in Switzerland, and this time a Honduran was detained. The charges include bribery, fraud, money laundering, and racketeering. The news broke in Honduras on that same day: Alfredo “El Turco” (“the Turk”) Hawit, the president of the Federación Nacional Autónoma de Fútbol de Honduras (FENAFUTH) and of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), was in custody and about to be extradited to the United States.

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