Ex-FIFA official Webb ‘not guilty’ of corruption

Update: 11:13AM Jeffrey Webb, one of seven high-ranking officials of football’s world governing body FIFA arrested in Switzerland on corruption charges, has entered a not guilty plea.

His extradition to the United States is part of a shocking global corruption case that threatens the future of football worldwide – with 14 officials, sports marketing and media executives arrest so far in the sweeping inquiry. 

Through lawyer Edward O’Callaghan, Webb ageeed to a complex arrangement that allows him to be released on US$10m bail.

The former FIFA vice president and current CONCACAF federation president will use 10 properties of his own and others belonging to relatives, a bond, and assets including three cars and high-end watches. 

By entering a not guilty plea before Judge Vera M. Scanlon, Webb seemed to be indicating that he would not be cooperating with the authorities in their case against 14 soccer officials and sports marketing and media executives who were arrested in one of the biggest international sports corruption inquiries.

The 50-year-old Cayman Islands national is among nine football 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 officials arrested in Zurich on May 27, two days before FIFA’s annual congress, as authorities unveiled a case that roiled the soccer world.

US 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.