FIFA says it ‘strongly supports’ US prosecution

NEW YORK (AP) — Defense attorneys have begun cross-examining a key government witness at the U.S. trial of three former South American soccer officials charged in the FIFA bribery scandal.

A lawyer for Juan Angel Napout, the ex-president of Paraguay’s soccer federation, pressed former marketing executive Alejandro Burzaco on Thursday about whether he personally paid any bribes to Napout.

Burzaco testified that he never directly gave money to Napout. He said that millions of dollars in bribes were instead channeled through various business entities before reaching the defendant.

Napout and the other soccer officials have pleaded not guilty to racketeering conspiracy and other charges. They’re accused of taking part in a 24-year international scheme involving $150 million in bribes in exchange for lucrative broadcasting and hosting rights for soccer tournaments.