ZURICH: Jeffrey Webb, former FIFA vice-president and head of its anti-discrimination commission, has become the first of the ‘Zurich Seven’ to accept extradition to the United States writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Reports from the United States and Switzerland claim that the sacked president of central/north American federation CONCACAF will not contest his removal to the US to face corruption charges in the FIFAgate scandal.
On May 27 Webb and six other men were detained at their luxury Zurich hotel two days before FIFA Congress at the request of the US Department of Justice. All are in prison awaiting a formal extradition application.
Webb’s identity as willing to co-operate with the USDoJ has not been confirmed formally. However the Cayman Islands banker had always been considered the most likely of the seven to be ready for a plea bargain.
The US case been founded on evidence, documentation and admissions from former associates of Webbb within CONCACAF. These are the two sons of Jack Warner, Trinidadian ex-president of CONCACAF, and the body’s former general secretary Chuck Blazer.
All three pleaded guilty to a string of corruption charges in return for reduced sentences.
Webb succeeded Warner as CONCACAF president and sought to promise a new era of transparency contrary to the two men’s previous close working relationship. In some circles Webb had been referred to informally as ‘Warner’s banker.’
The arrests of the seven was followed by Webb’s removal as president by CONCACAF and his provisional suspension from all football activities by the ethics committee of FIFA.
US investigators have alleged that Webb used some of a $500,000 bribe in 2012 to pay for work on a swimming pool at a property in Georgia where he lives with a young family.
The money was claimed to have come from marketing company Traffic Sports USA and been paid into an account controlled by Costas Takkas, the former general secretary of the Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA).
Webb has also been accused of having received a $1.1m bribe to award the 2012 Gold Cup/Champions League Contract to Traffic USA, and a further US$2 million for the 2013 Gold Cup. He and other CONCACAF officials are also said to have received millions more for deals connected with the 2016 Copa America Centenario competition.
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