The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has banned Mr Richard Lai, the former President of the Guam Football Association and a former member of the FIFA Audit and Compliance Committee, Mr Julio Rocha, the former President of the Nicaraguan Football Association and a former FIFA Development Officer, and Mr Rafael Esquivel, the former President of the Venezuelan Football Association and a former CONMEBOL Vice-President, for life from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level.

The investigation against Mr Lai was opened on 28 April 2017, based inter alia on a press release from the United States Department of Justice on 27 April 2017.

On 27 April 2017, Mr Lai pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud conspiracy and one count of wilful failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts. His guilty plea related, amongst others, to schemes in which he received bribes in exchange for his support in relation to the FIFA presidential elections and to gain control and influence within the AFC and FIFA.

The investigation against Mr Rocha was opened on 27 May 2015, based inter alia on a press release from the United States Department of Justice issued on the same day.

On 7 December 2016, Mr Rocha pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy. His guilty plea related, amongst others, to schemes in which he received bribes in exchange for awarding contracts to companies for the media and marketing rights to FIFA World Cup qualifier matches.

The investigation against Mr Esquivel was opened on 27 May 2015, based inter alia on a press release from the United States Department of Justice issued on the same day.

On 10 November 2016, Mr Esquivel pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, three counts of wire fraud conspiracy and three counts of money laundering conspiracy. His guilty plea related, amongst others, to schemes in which he received bribes in exchange for awarding contracts to companies for the media and marketing rights to various football tournaments, including the CONMEBOL Copa América and the CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores.

The adjudicatory chamber found Mr Lai, Mr Rocha and Mr Esquivel guilty of having violated art. 21 (Bribery and corruption) of the FIFA Code of Ethics. As a consequence, the officials are banned for life from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at national and international level. Additionally, appropriate fines in relation to the amounts of the bribes that they have admitted having taken have been imposed on the officials.

The bans come into force upon notification of the decision.