Bri­ton pleads guilty in Fifa money laun­der­ing scan­dal

New Straits Times - - Sport -

NEW YORK: A 60-year-old Bri­tish ci­ti­zen pleaded guilty in New York on Wed­nes­day to money laun­der­ing con­spir­acy in con­nec­tion with the sweep­ing cor­rup­tion scan­dal that has rocked world foot­ball.

Costas Takkas, the former Cay­man Is­lands Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion gen­eral sec­re­tary, has been liv­ing un­der house ar­rest in Florida af­ter ini­tially plead­ing not guilty and be­ing re­leased on a US$1 mil­lion (RM4.5 mil­lion) bond.

The ac­coun­tant was one of six Fifa of­fi­cials dra­mat­i­cally ar­rested in May 2015 in Zurich at the re­quest of US au­thor­i­ties when the mas­sive US in­ves­ti­ga­tion was first un­veiled.

He was ex­tra­dited to New York in March 2016.

Takkas pleaded guilty to money laun­der­ing con­spir­acy in con­nec­tion with the re­ceipt and trans­mis­sion of mil­lions of dol­lars in bribes to then-Fifa vice pres­i­dent Jef­frey Webb, prose­cu­tors said.

Webb ac­cepted a US$3 mil­lion bribe in ex­change for be­stow­ing rights to World Cup qual­i­fier matches to two sports mar­ket­ing com­pa­nies, US prose­cu­tors added.

Webb pleaded guilty in Novem­ber 2015. He has yet to be sen­tenced.

The US in­ves­ti­ga­tion has seen fed­eral prose­cu­tors in New York in­dict around 40 foot­ball and sports mar­ket­ing ex­ec­u­tives with al­legedly re­ceiv­ing tens of mil­lions of bribes and kick­backs.

It is the largest cor­rup­tion scan­dal in the his­tory of foot­ball and pre­cip­i­tated the down­fall of long­time Fifa pres­i­dent Sepp Blat­ter and his former heir ap­par­ent, Michel Pla­tini.

Many of those in­dicted have pleaded guilty and agreed to co­op­er­ate with prose­cu­tors in ex­change for pos­si­ble le­niency.

A trial is sched­uled to be­gin Nov 6 for four de­fen­dants in the United States who con­tinue to plead not guilty. AFP

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