Football Football

Briton pleads guilty in FIFA scandal

Costas Takkas (R), former secretary-general of the Cayman Islands Football Association seen leaving the Eastern District Court in Brooklyn, New York last year, pleaded guilty to Money laundering conspiracy in the sweeping FIFA corruption scandal © AFP / KENA BETANCUR

NEW YORK, United States, May 25 – 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 soccer.

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 $1 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 $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 soccer 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 November 6 for four defendants in the United States who continue to plead not guilty.