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article imageMexican TV network Televisa denies bribery allegations

By AFP     Aug 9, 2018 in World

Mexican station Televisa hit back on Thursday at a lawsuit filed in New York against the world's biggest Spanish-language network alleging it paid "millions of dollars" in bribes to secure World Cup hosting rights.

Televisa Group told AFP that the "accusations have no legal basis" and "contain important factual errors."

Last year, Mexico's Televisa and Globo of Brazil were both accused by a witness in another football corruption trial of having paid part of a $15 million bribe to a FIFA official to secure broadcasting rights to the World Cup tournaments in 2026 and 2030.

That accusation led the Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Pension Plan, which owns shares in Televisa, to file a lawsuit against the Mexican group, initially in March, demanding compensation.

The plaintiff claimed its shares dropped in value as a result of the corruption accusation and cost it "hundreds of millions of dollars."

Televisa was named by a prosecution witness in a New York court during a wider corruption trial brought by the United States against dozens of football and sports marketing executives, who allegedly received millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.

Among those on trial were former head of world football's governing body FIFA, Sepp Blatter -- currently suspended from all football-related activities over a two million Swiss franc ($2m) payment made to Michel Platini, at the time head of European football's governing body UEFA, for consultancy work.

In its defense, Televisa told AFP it had carried out a "detailed investigation with independent lawyers" who had found no evidence of "corrupt practices."

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