Ex-FIFA official Webb to enter plea on U.S. charges

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 18, 2015 12:33 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jeffrey Webb, one of seven high-ranking officials of soccer's world governing body FIFA who were arrested in Switzerland on U.S. corruption charges, was due to enter a plea in court on Saturday after being extradited to the United States.

A former FIFA vice president and president of the CONCACAF regional soccer federation, Webb was scheduled to appear and face charges at a federal court hearing in Brooklyn, New York.

The 50-year-old Cayman Islands national is among nine soccer officials and five marketing executives charged by the U.S. Justice Department for allegedly exploiting the sport for their own gain through bribes of more than $150 million over 24 years.

He was one of seven soccer officials arrested in Zurich on May 27, two days before FIFA's annual congress, as authorities unveiled a case that roiled the soccer world.

A U.S. lawyer for Webb could not be reached on Saturday before the court hearing.

U.S. authorities say their investigation, paralleling a separate Swiss inquiry, has exposed complex money laundering schemes, millions of dollars in untaxed incomes and tens of millions in offshore accounts held by FIFA officials.

Webb faces charges of racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering. He has been provisionally banned from his posts at FIFA and CONCACAF.

According to the indictment, Webb used his influential positions to solicit bribes from sports marketing companies in exchange for the commercial rights to soccer matches.

One $500,000 bribe payment from Traffic went to build a swimming pool at Webb's house in Loganville, Georgia, the indictment said.

On July 3, Cayman Islands officials announced separate charges against Webb in an unrelated healthcare fraud case.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Digby Lidstone)