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"I will not accept that my integrity is being doubted": new FIFA boss

Soccer

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has defended his reputation after reports surfaced that he signed a Champions League broadcasting contract in 2006 with two businessman who have since been accused of bribery.

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The contract, which Infantino co-signed as UEFA’s then-legal director, was leaked from the database of a Panama-based law firm, Mossack Fonseca, the British daily The Guardian and the BBC reported.

“I am dismayed and will not accept that my integrity is being doubted by certain areas of the media,” Infantino said in a statement published by FIFA, which he was elected to lead six weeks ago.

The UEFA contract reportedly co-signed by Infantino sealed a three-year deal for TV rights in Ecuador for the Champions League to Cross Trading.

That company is a subsidiary of a group owned by Argentine marketing executives Hugo and Mariano Jinkis, who were indicted last year by American federal prosecutors investigating a bribery and money laundering conspiracy in international soccer.

Infantino said Tuesday he “never personally dealt with Cross Trading nor their owners” in a tender process conducted by an agency retained by UEFA.

“Moreover, as media themselves report, there is no indication whatsoever for any wrongdoings from neither UEFA nor myself in this matter,” Infantino said.

According to the British reports, Cross Trading paid $US111,000 ($A147,000) for the rights and sold them for a $US200,000 ($A265,000) profit to the Teleamazonas channel.

There was no suggestion bribes or kickbacks were paid at any stage of the deals.

“The rights were awarded to Teleamazonas-Cross Trading because they made the highest offer on the market,” UEFA said in a separate statement.

However, UEFA did acknowledge they gave inaccurate information last year when stating they had no commercial dealings with people and companies indicted in the United States federal case.

Infantino and UEFA separately said they have not have not been contacted by law enforcement authorities about their past dealings with the Jinkis family’s agency.

The father and son are fighting extradition from Argentina to the United States.

-AP

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