San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Football Scandal

Eduardo Li pleads guilty in FIFA fraud case

A year and a half after his arrest on charges of corruption as part of the FIFA fraud case, Eduardo Li pleaded guilty Friday to three charges in a federal courthouse in Brooklyn, New York.

The former president of the Costa Rican Football Federation (FEDEFUTBOL) admitted guilt on three charges relating to corruption and conspiracy, according to AFP. Li told a judge Friday morning that he had accepted more than $500,000 in bribes from various companies in exchange for television rights to Costa Rican football games leading up to the 2022 World Cup, the AFP reported.

Li faced more than a dozen charges stemming from a pair of 2015 indictments against him, in which U.S. prosecutors said Li used his position as the head of Costa Rican football and a FIFA executive to receive illegal kickbacks when granting business deals. He was also accused of money laundering and wire fraud.

The Costa Rican has been under house arrest in New York since February after he was extradited from Switzerland, where he was originally detained alongside other FIFA officials in May 2015. Li is the 17th of 24 FIFA representatives to plead guilty to corruption charges in the U.S.

Each one of Li’s three charges carries a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison, according to AFP.

Last month, U.S. prosecutors announced that FIFA defendants who plead guilty now would receive reduced sentences.

A FEDEFUTBOL spokesperson declined comment Friday afternoon, saying, “It’s a matter that has to do specifically with Eduardo Li and we are keeping ourselves out of it.”

Contact Michael Krumholtz at

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