Former Cayman Islands football official admits money laundering
BROOKLYN, USA — On Wednesday in federal court in Brooklyn, the former general secretary of the Cayman Islands Football Association, Costas Takkas, pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy in connection with his laundering of millions of dollars in bribes paid to now-former CONCACAF president and FIFA vice president, Jeffrey Webb.
Takkas was the attaché to Webb at the time of Takkas’s arrest in Zurich, Switzerland pursuant to an indictment unsealed in May 2015 alleging various corrupt schemes in organized football. At sentencing, Takkas faces a maximum sentence of 20 years.
According to court filings and facts presented during the plea proceeding, Webb accepted a $3 million bribe in exchange for using his influence as a football official to award and enforce a contract granting two sports marketing companies the media and marketing rights to home World Cup qualifier matches played by teams representing soccer federations of the Caribbean Football Union during the 2018 and 2022 qualification cycles.
Webb, Takkas, and representatives of Traffic USA, one of the sports marketing companies, arranged for Traffic USA secretly to funnel half of Webb’s $3 million bribe through front companies and accounts controlled by Takkas. After receiving this $1.5 million, Takkas distributed these funds at Webb’s direction.
Media World, the other sports marketing company, paid approximately $500,000 of its $1.5 million share of the bribe money through a sham transaction involving a false invoice, to accounts controlled by Takkas.
Webb pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and other offences on November 23, 2015 and, in his allocution, he admitted, among other things, accepting this bribe. Webb, who remains under house arrest in Georgia, was due to be sentenced in May but the hearing was postponed until July.
The guilty plea announced on Wednesday is part of an investigation into corruption in international football led by the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the FBI New York Field Office, and the IRS-CI Los Angeles Field Office.
The US government’s investigation is ongoing.