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FIFA VP Villar Warned, Fined $25K in World Cup Bid Case

FILE - FIFA Vice President Angel Maria Villar Llona attends the preliminary draw for the 2018 soccer World Cup in Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 25, 2015.

FIFA vice president Angel Maria Villar was warned and fined 25,000 Swiss francs ($25,000) Friday for misconduct during the 2018-2022 World Cup bid investigation.

The light sanctions end a case which last year had potential to bring a more severe verdict on Villar, who is the No. 2 elected UEFA official behind President Michel Platini.

Villar, a lawyer who chairs the FIFA legal committee, at first refused to cooperate with then-FIFA ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia. He then tried within FIFA to have the former U.S. Attorney thrown off a case which many saw as key to FIFA's credibility.

The Spanish soccer federation president “failed to behave in accordance with the general rules of conduct,” during Garcia's investigation, the FIFA ethics committee said in a statement.

FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert imposed a lighter sanction because Villar later “demonstrated a willingness to cooperate.”

Villar was previously suspected of orchestrating a rule-breaking voting pact between the Spain-Portugal bid to host the 2018 World Cup and 2022 winner Qatar.

A brief probe by FIFA's previous ethics committee dismissed that claim in 2010.

Still, Garcia's investigation was expected to go deeper into the alleged seven-vote pact which FIFA President Sepp Blatter later acknowledged did exist.

In a separate case, the ethics panel also imposed six-month bans on Congolese officials Jean Guy Mayolas and Badji Wantete for misconduct during the FIFA congress in May.

Their offenses related to “offering and accepting gifts and other benefits,” the ethics committee said.

Both officials have 45 days left to serve after their provisional suspensions imposed in June.