Imagina increases 'prudent' contingency for any Fifa-gate settlement
Imagina, the parent company of Mediapro, the Spanish sports rights agency and production company, is reported to have set aside €10 million ($11.9 million) as a contingency for any legal settlement after former employees of a US subsidiary were implicated in the Fifa-gate corruption scandal.
Roger Huguet, the former chief executive of Media World, and Fabio Tordin, another senior executive at the company, have previously pleaded guilty to charges, prompting them to be dismissed in 2015.
Imagina has been in negotiations with the US justice authorities for several months with regard to reaching an agreement under which the company would not be tried or accused.
It has also doubled the contingency, set aside "for prudence", from €4.8 million at the end of 2016, according to Spanish newspaper El Economista.
The newspaper this week cited a 2016 income statement in the section on events after the close of the financial year, in a document signed on 11 June, 2017, which read: “With the Fifa investigation having entered its final phase, it is deemed appropriate to expand the amount of resources that, with respect to this other contingency, has been constituted for prudence, and in order to to have a greater margin available for covered negotiation in order to reach a final agreement on this issue.”
Some 23 individuals have pleaded guilty and others are on trial in a wide-ranging US investigation which centres on schemes in which $200 million in bribes and kickbacks concerning media and marketing rights to soccer competitions across the Americas were alleged to have been paid to officials with links to Fifa.
Last week, Alejandro Burzaco, a witness in the New York trial of three former senior officials of Conmebol, the South American confederation, alleged that Mediapro was one of six leading media companies that had been involved in the paying of bribes for broadcasting rights to South American competitions, but did not provide specifics, and the Spanish firm has not been directly implicated in the investigation.
Huguet and Tordin were charged with wire and tax fraud and money laundering relating to the acquisition of media rights to a series of Fifa World Cup qualifying matches involving Central American associations.
Imagina is said to have stressed that the increase in the contingency was made possible by the good progress of the company.
El Economista reported that it had maintained “close collaboration“ with the New York prosecutors by preparing “a detailed analysis” of how its companies function, and implemented measures to “strengthen internal control to prevent similar events from happening again.”
Last month, Orient Hontai, a Chinese private equity firm, agreed terms on a deal to buy a 54-per-cent stake in Imagina for $1 billion, and this is expected to be closed in the first quarter of 2018.