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WASHINGTON, June 12 (Reuters) - U.S. authorities are examining payments made by Nike Inc under a 1996 soccer sponsorship deal with Brazil for possible evidence of any wrongdoing by the company or others, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
Citing people familiar with the matter, the newspaper said allegations of corruption around Nike's $160 million agreement to sponsor Brazil's national team are discussed in barely veiled terms in the Justice Department's indictment of officials in soccer's governing body, FIFA.
The indictment describes a multinational U.S. sportswear company that struck a deal to sponsor the Brazilian federation, and then cut a side deal with a sports-marketing middleman, who allegedly used payments from the company for bribes and kickbacks, the Journal reported, adding that the people familiar with the matter confirmed the company is Nike. (Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Sandra Maler)