American Sports Marketing Executive Pleads Guilty To Racketeering And Corruption Charges
Earlier today in federal court in Brooklyn, Aaron Davidson pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy in connection with his involvement in schemes involving the payment of bribes to a high-ranking soccer official in exchange for media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments and matches. Davidson agreed to and paid these bribes on behalf of Traffic Sports USA, Inc. (Traffic USA), the Miami sports marketing company for which he served as president at the time of his arrest on May 27, 2015. As part of his plea, Davidson also agreed to forfeit $507,906.84. At sentencing, Davidson faces a maximum sentence of 20 years for each count. Today’s plea proceeding took place before United States District Judge Pamela K. Chen.
The guilty plea was announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director in Charge, FBI, New York Field Office; and Acting Special Agent in Charge Anthony J. Orlando, IRS Criminal Investigation, Los Angeles Field Office.
According to court filings and facts presented during the plea proceeding, Davidson, a U.S. citizen, joined Traffic USA in 2003, initially working in sales and ultimately rising to the position of president of the company. During his time at Traffic USA, Davidson was involved in multiple criminal schemes including, among others, schemes involving the agreement to pay and payment of bribes to a high-ranking official of FIFA, CONCACAF, the Caribbean Football Union, and one of FIFA’s national member associations in order to obtain lucrative media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments and matches for Traffic USA and its business partners. Those tournaments and matches included FIFA World Cup qualifiers, the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the CONCACAF Champions League, and the Copa América Centenario, a tournament jointly organized by CONCACAF and CONMEBOL, the South American soccer confederation. In total, Davidson negotiated and agreed to bribe payments totaling more than $14 million.
The guilty plea announced today is part of an investigation into corruption in international soccer being led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the FBI New York Field Office, and the IRS-CI Los Angeles Field Office. The prosecutors in Brooklyn are receiving considerable assistance from attorneys in various parts of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division in Washington, D.C., including the Office of International Affairs, the Organized Crime and Gang Section, the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, and the Fraud Section, as well as from INTERPOL Washington.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Evan M. Norris, Amanda Hector, Paul Tuchmann, Nadia Shihata, Keith D. Edelman, and Brian D. Morris of the Eastern District of New York are in charge of today’s prosecution.
The government’s investigation is ongoing.
Nationality: United States
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 15 CR 252 (S-1)