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Ex-FIFA Official Jeffrey Webb Pleads Not Guilty to Corruption Charges in U.S.

Webb was one of seven high-ranking FIFA officials who were arrested in Switzerland on corruption charges.
/ Source: Reuters

NEW YORK — Jeffrey Webb, one of seven high-ranking officials of soccer's world governing body FIFA who were arrested in Switzerland on corruption charges, pleaded not guilty in U.S. federal court on Saturday.

Extradited to the United States, the former FIFA vice president and president of the CONCACAF regional soccer federation, appeared at a hearing in Brooklyn, New York. A U.S. lawyer for him declined to comment.

A file picture dated May 23, 2012, of Jeffrey Webb, then newly-elected President of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), speaking prior to the FIFA Congress in Budapest, Hungary.SZILARD KOSZTICSAK / EPA

Webb faces U.S. charges of racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering. He was released on $10 million bond, co-signed by family members and secured by properties, vehicles, personal possessions and financial assets.

No trial date was set.

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.

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.

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 allegedly went to build a swimming pool at Webb's house in Loganville, Georgia, according to the indictment.

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