The Confederation of North, Central America, and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) has hired Guilherme Carvalho as chief legal and chief compliance officer, effective Aug. 23. The newly created position is part of a broader effort by CONCACAF to strengthen its governance, management, and operations in the wake of the ongoing FIFA corruption scandal.

As chief legal and chief compliance officer, Carvalho will lead the legal and compliance areas of CONCACAF, including managing the legal affairs and overseeing the daily operations of its compliance and integrity programs.

Carvalho joins CONCACAF from Yahoo, where he was vice president and associate general counsel, Americas, a role he held since 2005. At Yahoo, Carvalho was responsible for all legal affairs and public policy matters for a wide range of the company’s businesses and subsidiaries throughout the region. Prior to Yahoo, he was an associate at law firm White & Case from February 2002 to July 2005.  

The reform framework, developed at the request of the Confederation’s executive committee, is “an additional step toward ushering in systemic organizational change to further enhance CONCACAF’s business operations through improved governance, increased public disclosure, and enhanced anti-corruption controls,” CONCACAF said in a statement. Full details on CONCACAF’s reform framework can be found here.

Guilty plea

In April 2016, Alfredo Hawit—a former FIFA vice president and executive committee member, the former president of CONCACAF, and the former president and general secretary of the Honduran soccer federation (FENAFUTH)—pleaded guilty in New York federal court to one count of racketeering conspiracy, two counts of wire fraud conspiracy, and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice in connection with his receipt of bribes in exchange for the awarding of contracts for the media and marketing rights to CONCACAF tournaments and FIFA World Cup qualifier matches. 

Hawit, who served in high-ranking positions in soccer from 1998 to 2015, also agreed to forfeit $950,000. At sentencing, Hawit faces a maximum sentence of 20 years for each count. The plea proceeding took place before U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie.

According to court filings, Hawit in 2011 and 2012 negotiated and accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for his agreement to exercise his influence as acting president of CONCACAF to award an Argentine sports marketing company the media and marketing rights to CONCACAF tournaments, including the Gold Cup and the CONCACAF Champions League.  

Starting in 2008, Hawit also negotiated and accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for his agreement to exercise his influence as the FENAFUTH general secretary to award contracts to Media World, a sports marketing company, for the media and marketing rights to the Honduran national soccer team’s home World Cup qualifier matches for the 2014, 2018, and 2022 editions of the World Cup. Over a period of several years, Media World transmitted these bribes from its U.S. bank accounts, through an intermediary, to foreign bank accounts controlled by the defendant’s family members and by a co-conspirator, according to court filings. 

In addition, after the original indictment in this case was unsealed on May 27, 2015, Hawit engaged in a conspiracy to obstruct justice, and to tamper with witnesses and evidence, by advising a co-conspirator to create sham contracts in order to mask bribe payments already paid and, if asked, deceive law enforcement officers about the true nature and purpose of bribe payments.

Hawit’s guilty plea 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, as well as the FBI New York Field Office, and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Los Angeles Field Office—agencies that equally play prominent roles in bribery investigations. The government’s investigation is ongoing.