Adidas managed to create a lot of headlines lately with its involvement in a severe corruption case. The scandal first emerged at the end of September, when the FBI arrested a company executive on allegations of offering bribes to high school students and their families for certain benefits for Adidas.
The case is considered to be very widespread and it actually came as a shock in the world of sports. The Adidas executive charged in the case is Jim Gatto, the company’s Global Marketing Director for Basketball. The authorities charged him with wife fraud, money laundering, as well as paying $250,000 in bribes.
The whole case is quite complicated and also involves other defendants, including a former Nike employee and assistant basketball coaches from Arizona, Auburn and California, among others. The Adidas director was accused of paying money to basketball players that are still in high school, and their families, if they promise that they would go to play at certain schools. Furthermore, the young players had to give Gatto guarantees that they would sign endorsement deals with the sportswear company sponsoring those schools, when turning professional.
An important thing to mention is that the name of the sportswear company was not specified in court filed documents. The court papers do not mention Adidas’ name, but the references made when talking about the “company” point to the sportswear giant. The names of the universities part of the case have not been revealed, either.
Adidas previously stated that it would cooperate in the investigation. “Today, we became aware that federal investigators arrested an Adidas employee,” the company said. “We are learning more about the situation. We’re unaware of any misconduct and will fully cooperate with authorities to understand more,” the same statement added. The company also said that it will also conduct its own investigation into the case.
So, besides Gatto, the FBI also charged several college coaches in relation with the corruption investigation. Thus, the case is expected to get bigger and most likely other people will also be charged in connection with the claims.