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Former FIFA Official Pleads Not Guilty in Corruption Case

  • VOA News

FILE - Jeffrey Webb speaks during a Confederation of North and Central American and Caribbean Association Football news conference in Philadelphia, March 12, 2015.

FILE - Jeffrey Webb speaks during a Confederation of North and Central American and Caribbean Association Football news conference in Philadelphia, March 12, 2015.

Former FIFA Vice President Jeffrey Webb, appearing Saturday in federal court in New York, pleaded not guilty to racketeering and bribery charges in a corruption case that has rocked the international soccer federation.

Webb was released on $10 million bond following his arraignment; his wife, a U.S. citizen, and her relatives signed the bond papers in court. He relinquished his passports to the FBI and must remain within a 20-mile (32-kilometer) radius of the federal court in Brooklyn.

His lawyer declined to comment after the hearing.

Webb, 50, a dual citizen of Britain and the Cayman Islands, is among nine football officials and five marketing executives charged by the U.S. Justice Department with allegedly plotting to pay bribes of more than $150 million for marketing deals over a 24-year period for the World Cup and other tournaments.

Webb was detained in May in Zurich, with six other FIFA officials, just two days before FIFA's annual congress. He was flown to New York from Switzerland this past week; the others are fighting extradition.

Since the indictment, Webb was provisionally banned and replaced as the FIFA vice president from the North and Central American and Caribbean region. Webb was also president of CONCACAF, soccer's governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Switzerland is conducting a separate investigation into allegations of mismanagement and money laundering connected to the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively.

Swiss prosecutors are investigating 53 possible money-laundering incidents involving the bidding process for the two World Cups.

FIFA has suspended the bidding process for the 2026 World Cup.

Some information for this story came from AP and AFP.

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