United States Jeffrey Webb, Former FIFA Vice President, Pleaded Not Guilty
Saturday at an arraignment before a Brooklyn United States District Court to
charges that he had solicited bribes to parcel out lucrative soccer media and
marketing deals. By entering that plea, Webb indicated that he would not yet
cooperate with the authorities in their case against 14 soccer officials and sports
marketing and media executives. Webb was the first of seven FIFA officials
arrested by Swiss police in May in a luxury Zurich hotel two days before a the May
FIFA Congress to be extradited to the United States (sport intern 20150716).
With his wife, Kendra Gamble-Webb, and her parents and grandmother
in the court, Mr. Webb and his lawyer, Edward O’Callaghan, the former
president of the CONCACAF Central and North American football federation,
according to The New York Times, agreed to a complicated deal that would
allow the once-powerful soccer official to be released on 10 million Dollars
bail, covered by a bond package that included 10 real estate properties owned by
him, his wife and other relatives; three cars; and expensive watches and jewelry.
Under the terms of his release, Webb surrendered his three passports
and his wife surrendered her passport. He will be under house detention and
must remain within 20 miles (32 km) of the courthouse. His movements will
be monitored electronically and he will be required to seek written permission
from the FBI to go anywhere.
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 has been provisionally banned from his posts at FIFA and
CONCACAF. No date has been set for his trial.
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. 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.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Sport Intern.