TIME Soccer

Paraguay Asked to Extradite South American Soccer Official Over FIFA Corruption Charges

CONMEBOL president Nicolas Leoz speaks during a press conference in Luque, Paraguay, on April 23, 2013.
Norberto Duarte —AFP/Getty Images CONMEBOL president Nicolas Leoz speaks during a press conference in Luque, Paraguay, on April 23, 2013.

Nicolás Leoz was indicted on charges of racketeering, money laundering and bribery

The U.S. has asked Paraguay to extradite Nicolás Leoz, the former president of South America’s soccer confederation, Conmebol, and a suspect in a huge corruption scandal at the heart of the world soccer’s governing body FIFA.

Leoz, 86, has been under house arrest in the Paraguayan capital, Asunción, since June 1, reports Reuters.

“We have received the documentation from the U.S. embassy and have forwarded it to the Supreme Court,” Juana Núñez, the ministry’s liaison with Paraguay’s justice system, told Reuters. Núñez added that there was no deadline for when authorities must decide on the extradition request.

U.S. prosecutors have indicted 14 soccer officials, including Leoz, as well as businessmen and marketing executives on charges of bribery, racketeering and money laundering.

Leoz was president of Conmebol from 1986 to 2013 and was a former member of FIFA’s executive committee. He was not in Geneva in May when seven FIFA executives were arrested by Swiss police, although he was later detained by Paraguayan authorities.

Leoz has maintained his innocence.

[Reuters]

TIME Companies

Toshiba Bosses Accused of Padding Profits by $1.2 Billion

Pedestrians walk past a logo of Toshiba Corp outside an electronics retailer in Tokyo
Yuya Shino—Reuters Pedestrians walk past a logo of Toshiba Corp outside an electronics retailer in Tokyo, Japan, June 25, 2015

Hisao Tanaka, company president and chief executive, resigned on Wednesday

In one of the Japan’s largest ever accounting scandals, investigators found that bosses at tech giant Toshiba had systematically betrayed the trust of the stakeholders by fudging the firm’s accounting for more than seven years, embellishing earnings by $1.2 billion.

The underpinnings of corporate corruption at Toshiba were exposed after an investigation by a former Tokyo prosecutor on Monday, finding top executives wrapped up in a culture of deceit. Toshiba President Hisao Tanaka quit Wednesday over the affair, while his predecessor, Norio Sasaki, is also expected to step down from his current role as vice chairman, reports AFP.

“Toshiba had a corporate culture in which management decisions could not be challenged,” said a summary of the investigator’s report. “Employees were pressured into inappropriate accounting by postponing loss reports or moving certain costs into later years.”

Securities regulators first discovered irregularities on the company’s balance sheet earlier this year, causing Toshiba shares to drop more than 20% since May.

In light of the scandal, the company will have to restate its earnings by 151.8 billion yen ($1.2 billion) for the period between April 2008 and March 2014.

The affair comes only two years after a handful of Olympus executives were accused of orchestrating a $1.7 billion accounting fraud scheme, which left the company to pay a fine of 700 million yen ($5.6 million).

[AFP]

TIME Soccer

France’s Michel Platini Is Hot Favorite to Become the Next President of FIFA

UEFA President Michel Platini holds a news conference a year before the start of Euro 2016, in Paris
Charles Platiau—Reuters UEFA President Michel Platini holds a news conference a year before the start of Euro 2016, in Paris, France, June 10, 2015.

Four of six world soccer confederations would reportedly support the current UEFA chief's candidacy

Amid widespread speculation over who will be the next president of soccer’s scandal-hit world governing body FIFA, France’s Michel Platini has emerged as an immensely popular contender among more than half of the organization’s constituent bodies — should he decide to stand for the election next year.

Four out of six continental confederations under FIFA would back Platini — who currently heads the European confederation UEFA — in the election, a source close to UEFA told Reuters.

The confederations representing Asia (AFC), North and Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF), and South America (CONMEBOL) have reportedly declared their support for the legendary midfielder, although none of them were available to confirm. Africa (CAF) and Oceania (OCF) comprise the rest of FIFA’s immediate subdivisions.

The 60-year-old Frenchman, known as one of the world’s best during his playing career in the ’70s and ’80s, has not yet decided whether he will stand for the election to replace FIFA’s disgraced former president Sepp Blatter. Blatter announced his resignation last month as a corruption scandal engulfed world soccer’s apex body, and FIFA has set Feb. 26 for fresh elections.

Read next: Reform Will Top the Agenda at FIFA’s Executive Committee Meeting

TIME Soccer

Watch Former FIFA Exec Jack Warner’s Rambling Video Response to John Oliver

Complete with dramatic music

The ongoing FIFA corruption probe is a source of scandal but also comedic material, intentional or otherwise.

Last Week Tonight host John Oliver has targeted FIFA not once but twice in his hilarious weekly segments. Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner also quoted an article from satirical news website the Onion in an impassioned defense of his organization, unaware that the article was a spoof.

Oliver recently bought some airtime at a local TV station in Warner’s native Trinidad and Tobago, to poke further fun at Warner, who promised an “avalanche” of revelations that would take FIFA down but made an abrupt about-face. Warner wasn’t amused and shot his own video response — complete with dramatic background music — to counter the “incomprehensible” allegations made by that “comedian fool.”

Warner is currently on bail and faces extradition to the U.S. on bribery charges. Now that isn’t funny.

TIME Soccer

An Argentinian Media Executive Named in the FIFA Scandal Has Turned Himself In

Argentine linked to FIFA scandal turns himself into Italian police
INTERPOL/HANDOUT—EPA An undated mugshot released on 09 June 2015 by Interpol shows Alejandro Burzaco.

Alejandro Burzaco says he will provide information on the corruption scandal engulfing soccer's apex body

One of the South American businessmen implicated in the ongoing corruption scandal at world soccer’s governing body FIFA surrendered to police in Italy on Tuesday, two weeks after the U.S. issued a warrant for his arrest.

Alejandro Burzaco surrendered to authorities in the northern Italian city of Bolzano, the Wall Street Journal reported. He is the former chairman and chief executive of Argentina’s Torneos SA, a media company that won the rights to broadcast several tournaments including last year’s World Cup in Brazil and this year’s Copa America, which begins in Chile on Thursday.

The company fired Burzaco last week, soon after he was charged with racketeering, fraud and money laundering in an indictment by U.S. federal authorities and named in a “red notice” by Interpol. The 50-year-old was accompanied by three lawyers when he surrendered, and said he is willing to be extradited to the U.S. to provide information on the FIFA scandal.

“Alejandro Burzaco surrendered today so he could expedite his arrival in the U.S. to address the charges head on,” Sean Casey, a lawyer at Kobre & Kim in New York, also representing Burzaco, told the Journal in an emailed statement.

U.S. prosecutors are also seeking two other Argentine executives and a Brazilian executive in connection with the massive corruption scandal, which has implicated several top officials at one of world sport’s richest organizations and resulted in the resignation of FIFA chief Sepp Blatter earlier this month.

[WSJ]

TIME Opinion

What FIFA Can Learn From the Biggest Scandal in Baseball History

White Sox Players
Chicago History Museum / Getty Images "Black Sox" players with their attorney in a Chicago courtroom in 1921

The lessons of cleaning up sports in 1921 and 2015

On Wednesday, the new Attorney General of the United States, Loretta Lynch, announced the arrest and indictment of 14 high officials of FIFA, the soccer world’s governing body, and of various regional soccer associations for massive, systemic corruption. Attorney General Lynch, who previously supervised the investigation as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, took advantage of broad provisions in U.S. laws allowing their application against acts largely, but not entirely, committed overseas. There is no precedent for this situation in international sport, but there is in American sport: the way in which Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the first baseball commissioner, cleaned up the game and put it on a sound footing beginning in 1921, after the Black Sox scandal and the fixing of the 1919 World Series had come to light. FIFA and the strongest national associations now have to figure out how to solve somewhat different problems in an equally dramatic way.

Professional sport was in its youth in 1919, but baseball was already a huge presence in American life. Betting on it was, too, and it is clear that gamblers and players had been fixing games for at least a decade by the time an organized crime syndicate led by Arnold Rothstein of New York promised payments to the White Sox to throw the World Series against the Reds. The fix was about as secret as corruption in FIFA has been. An excellent ESPN documentary was just recently released that focused on allegations of huge payments by Russia and Qatar to secure rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups—charges that are part of a separate investigation by Swiss authorities—and on the role of FIFA President Sepp Blatter, the most powerful man in world sport, who has so far escaped indictment. Likewise, newspapers led by the New York Times reported the precipitous fall in the odds on the White Sox on the eve of the first game, and many people within baseball knew what was going on the series played out. When it was over, however, everyone wanted to get back to business as usual—as FIFA will—and the one courageous Chicago reporter, Hughie Fullerton, who kept the story alive, was harshly criticized for his zeal.

Thanks in part to feuds among the owners, however, the story began to leak out during 1920—when the White Sox were contending for the pennant—and finally broke in the last week of the 1920 season. Eight White Sox, including potential Hall of Famers Joe Jackson and pitcher Eddie Cicotte, were suspended at once. More importantly, the owners, under great pressure to restore confidence in the game, appointed federal judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis as commissioner, with broad powers to take any action he deemed in the best interests of baseball. Landis eventually banned not only the eight Black Sox, but 14 other players as well, for fixing games. For the rest of his tenure, every ballplayer knew that no contact with gamblers would be tolerated by the commissioner. Remarkably, Landis accomplished this even while civic morality in America’s major cities was collapsing under the impact of prohibition. He set a standard for probity that became an example for politicians like Fiorello LaGuardia, later mayor of New York, prosecutor and Governor Thomas Dewey, and President Franklin Roosevelt. Throughout his tenure, Landis settled virtually every case that came before him with public hearings that helped maintain confidence in him and in the game.

This week, Lynch has stepped forward to play that role on a world scale, taking steps that are very likely to lead to real reform within FIFA. Some national leaders and associations are bound to complain, but as a lifelong soccer fan myself, I have no doubt that the mass of fans all over the world will be totally on her side. They know that the next two World Cups were not awarded to Russia and Qatar because those countries were the best places to hold them, and they know that the FIFA leadership is not acting in the best interests of international soccer.

I suspect that Blatter will decline to accept the new term of office to which he was about to be elected, and FIFA will have a chance to clean house. To restore confidence and prove that things have changed, the organization’s new leadership must emulate Landis and take truly drastic action. For example, just as baseball owners agreed to give great power to a new authority, FIFA could change its power structure, reallocating votes based on population or upon the size and strength of nation’s professional leagues, rather than giving Monsterrat the same vote as Germany, as they do today. Just as Landis made a point of keeping the Commissioner’s office independent, FIFA must also design an utterly transparent and incorruptible process for choosing World Cup venues. Specifically, if evidence of bribery in the choice of the last two World Cups becomes clear, they must rescind the awards to Russia and Qatar, which were ill-advised—and, it now appears, ill-gotten—in the first place. But most of all, the new FIFA leadership, like Judge Landis, has to take this drastic action to prove that crime, in the form of bribery, does not pay, and to prove that things will indeed be different in the future. The real punishment for anyone who would buy a World Cup vote would be to see their investments vanish into thin air like so many credit-default swaps based on subprime mortgages—and without any chance of a bailout.

The indicted FIFA officials face potential jail terms, and meanwhile Lynch has established herself as a major figure not just on the national, but also on the world stage. She has struck a blow for civic virtue and honesty at the upper reaches of sport. The whole world needs leaders who can do the same for finance, industry and government. Perhaps Lynch herself has an even more important role to play in the future.

The Long ViewHistorians explain how the past informs the present

David Kaiser, a historian, has taught at Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, Williams College, and the Naval War College. He is the author of seven books, including, most recently, No End Save Victory: How FDR Led the Nation into War. He lives in Watertown, Mass.

TIME Television

ABC Just Renewed Some of Your Favorite TV Shows

Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey in "Grey's Anatomy."
Richard Cartwright—ABC via Getty Images Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey in "Grey's Anatomy."

But get ready to say good-bye to a few

Great news out of ABC: The network has renewed 10 dramas and six comedies.

On the drama side, Castle, Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nashville, Once Upon a Time, Scandal, American Crime, Secrets and Lies and Marvel’s Agent Carter have all scored additional seasons.

As for the comedies, freshman fare black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat join The Goldbergs, The Middle, Modern Family and Galavant. Yes, Galavant.

On the alternative side, America’s Funniest Home Videos, The Bachelor, Dancing with the Stars, Shark Tank, Beyond the Tank and 20/20 have all been renewed.

The news comes on the heels of ABC ordering six dramas, including Shonda Rhimes’ The Catch, Don Johnson’s untitled oil boom project, biblical saga Of Kings and Prophets, FBI thriller Quantico, anthology series Wicked City and the Joan Allen-starring project The Family. The network also ordered three comedies: a reboot of The Muppets, Ken Jeong’s Dr. Ken and Dan Savage’s The Real O’Neals, which stars Martha Plimpton.

But it was bad news for Forever, Resurrection and Cristela, which were canceled.

This article originally appeared on EW.com.

TIME

See How Much Americans Prefer Fictional Presidents to Barack Obama

The real President trails in the polls to Francis Underwood, Fitzpatrick Grant and other actors who play politics on TV

Being leader of the free world isn’t easy–especially when you have actors running around showing people they can do a better job than you. President Barack Obama’s approval rating trails that of many actors who have played President on television in recent years, according to the mischievous pollsters at Reuters/Ipsos.

20th Century Fox Television (1); Getty Images (3); Netflix (1); AP (1)

The poll found 46 percent of Americans view Obama favorably, according to the survey published Monday. Americans’ favorite TV president? David Palmer of 24. Of those who have watched the Fox thriller, 89 percent said they hold a favorable opinion of the President played by Dennis Haysbert. Martin Sheen’s Jed Bartlett of The West Wing scores an 82 percent favorable ranking among viewers. President Laura Roslin of the SyFy channel’s Battlestar Galatica pulled in a 78 percent favorability ranking from those who have watched her outfox Cylons.

Obama even trails the famously scandalous leaders of House of Cards and Scandal. Fitzgerald Grant, one of Shonda Rimes many gifts to the world, has a 60 percent favorability rating from Scandal watchers. Francis Underwood, the Netflix President played by Kevin Spacey, is seen favorably by 57 percent of the show’s audience.

When compared to real competition, Obama performs much better. At this point in his second term, George W. Bush carried a 34 percent approval rating.

Read next: The Underwoods: A Less Perfect Union

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Television

Watch Kerry Washington’s Stirring Speech from the GLAAD Media Awards

Kerry Washington
Charley Gallay—Getty Images Kerry Washington accepts the Vanguard Award onstage during the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 21, 2015 in Beverly Hills.

The "Scandal" star devoted her time to discussing equal rights for all citizens and how to make that a reality in the media

When Kerry Washington accepted the Vanguard Award at last night’s GLAAD Media Awards, she knew her acceptance speech would, eventually, come under some scrutiny.

“…On Monday morning, people are going to click a link to hear what that woman from Scandal said at that awards show, and so, I think some stuff needs to be said,” Washington said to a round of applause before launching into her speech.

The Scandal star then devoted her time to discussing equal rights for all citizens and how to make that a reality in the media. Washington acknowledged the “access to basic liberties” that are denied to many citizens around the world, noting how “women, poor people, people of color, people with disabilities, immigrants, gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, trans people, intersex people…have been pitted against each other and made to feel like there are limited seats at the table for those of us who fall into the category of other.”

But Washington believes that the stories of these disenfranchised communities must be told to prevent this from happening on screen and in the real world.

Watch Washington’s full speech as she advocates for more “inclusive storytelling” and “inclusive representation” both in front of and behind the camera.

This article originally appeared on EW.com

TIME brazil

Watch Tens of Thousands Demand Brazil President Rousseff’s Impeachment

Protesters say the President knew about a huge graft scandal at the state oil company Petrobras

More than 1 million people took to the streets across Brazil on Sunday to demonstrate against President Dilma Rousseff.

Many were calling for her impeachment over a massive corruption scandal while she was head of the state oil company Petrobras, Agence France-Presse reports.

Rousseff, 67, also faces anger over rising inflation and a weak economy, especially among lower-income voters who traditionally back her Workers’ Party, locally known as PT.

The biggest demonstration was in São Paulo, Brazil’s most populous city, where some 500,000 people took to the streets, dressed in the yellow and green of the national flag. “Get out, Dilma; get out, PT!” they chanted. Rallies took place in 83 other towns and cities across the country, including the capital, Brasilia, where 40,000 people marched toward Congress.

Opposition parties backed the protests but didn’t go so far as to call for the President’s impeachment.

Petrobras officials allegedly accepted bribes totaling a whopping $3.8 billion in exchange for contracts for refineries, oil tankers and deep-sea platforms, with payments channeled to powerful politicians and political parties.

An investigation into dozens of prominent political figures is under way, but the President, who was chairwoman of the company’s board at the time, has not been directly implicated and denies any involvement.

After the protests, the government said it would introduce measures to fight corruption and impunity.

[AFP]

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