The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and the Costa Rican Football Federation (FEDEFUTBOL) announced today that FEDEFUTBOL will receive US $500,000 of restitution, after a Panamanian company pleaded guilty on Wednesday, February 21, to wire fraud conspiracy before a United States federal court in Brooklyn, New York.
Panama-based Mimo International Imports and Exports, Inc., entered the guilty plea and agreed to pay restitution to FEDEFUTBOL, pay a large fine and dissolve operations. The company paid bribes to former FEDEFUTBOL President Eduardo Li, who was arrested in May, 2015, in exchange for deals related to the Federation’s apparel sponsorship. As a result of those misdeeds, the Costa Rican Federation was deprived of significant income, which the company will now pay via the restitution judgement.
“FEDEFUTBOL is grateful that the appropriate restitution has been arranged for FEDEFUTBOL, as the victim of these disgraceful and criminal actions,” said FEDEFUTBOL President Rodolfo Villalobos. “This restitution award will go directly to the further development of football in Costa Rica, and validates all the difficult work we have done to reform our federation.”
“This outcome indicates that the reform efforts of CONCACAF and its member associations, including FEDEFUTBOL, are being recognized by the authorities, and confirms that Confirms that the CONCACAF family has been victim of past corruption activities perpetrated by individuals,” said CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani. “CONCACAF stands behind FEDEFUTBOL, and the actions they have taken to recover from these misdeeds, as Costa Rican football moves past these circumstances to achieve success in strengthening their programs at all levels.”
According to court filings and facts presented during the plea proceeding, Mimo provided athletic apparel and sponsorship fees to FEDEFUTBOL pursuant to a 2012 sponsorship agreement that was to run through 2018. In disreputable dealings with Li, the company sought to illegally manipulate the terms of the deal, while illicitly enriching Li in the process.
The wrongdoing took place without the knowledge of Federation officials beyond Li, or that of representatives of the current FEDEFUTBOL apparel sponsor. CONCACAF, FEDEFUTBOL and other regional Member Associations continue with their efforts in U.S. court to recover judgements from a number of the defendants in the wide-ranging case.