Not guilty, says Webb
NEW YORK (AP):
A former top FIFA official pleaded not guilty yesterday to racketeering and bribery charges in a corruption case aimed at football's governing body that has sent shock waves through the sport.
Jeffrey Webb posted a $10 million bond at his arraignment in federal court. He surrendered three passports - two from the United Kingdom and one from the Cayman Islands - and will be required to wear an electronic monitoring device as a condition of his release.
Webb's bond was secured by 10 different people, including his wife and her parents, who were in the courtroom. He did not speak except to say "Yes, your honour" when the judge asked if he understood the charges.
Webb's lawyer, Edward O'Callaghan, did not comment after the hearing. Prosecutors also declined comment.
Webb, 50, was among seven FIFA officials detained in Switzerland. The rest are fighting extradition.
Prosecutors allege the defendants plotted to pay bribes of more than US$150 million tied to the award of broadcasting and hosting rights for the World Cup and other tournaments over a 24-year period.
Following the indictment, Webb received a provisional ban and was replaced as the FIFA vice-president from the North and Central American and Caribbean region. Webb was also president of CONCACAF, the regional governing body for North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.
Fourteen men - nine football officials and five marketing executives - were indicted by the US Justice Department in May, including former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, who is resisting extradition from Trinidad and Tobago.
Webb promised reform when he was elected in 2012 to succeed Warner as president of CONCACAF.