July 8, 2015 / 10:51 PM / 2 years ago

Suspended FIFA official Webb was director of Warner's company

4 Min Read

FIFA President Joseph "Sepp" Blatter (R) gestures next to CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb during a news conference at the CONCACAF congress in Panama City in this file April 19, 2013 photo.Carlos Jasso

MIAMI (Reuters) - Suspended CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb was a director 10 years ago of a Cayman Islands company controlled by Jack Warner, the former head of the Americas regional soccer body who is facing U.S. corruption charges, a court document shows.

The document links Webb, who is also facing U.S. charges and who pledged to fight corruption when he took over CONCACAF in 2012, to controversial television rights deals that were struck in the region during Warner's 21 years at the helm of CONCACAF.

Webb had vowed to reform the confederation which governs the sport in North and Central America and the Caribbean following a "cash for votes" scandal involving Warner and Qatari Mohammed Bin Hammam, then president of the Asian Football Confederation

A lawyer for Warner declined to comment on the document. Webb's lawyer was not immediately reachable.

Webb, who has also been suspended as a vice president of world soccer governing body FIFA, is currently being detained in Switzerland after he was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) as part of its probe into soccer-related corruption. It is unclear whether he plans to challenge a request from U.S. authorities that he be extradited to New York to face trial.

The DOJ has accused Webb of receiving kickbacks from deals with sports marketing company Traffic Sports, after taking over as CONCACAF president. On Tuesday, CONCACAF and Traffic ended their corporate relationships.

Trinidad and Tobago-based Warner has also been indicted in the DOJ investigation on charges of racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy, including taking $10 million to influence voting on South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup.

Warner remains in Trinidad but U.S authorities disclosed that his sons Daryan and Darrll reached plea agreements with U.S. authorities.

The 2005 document is an application in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands to restore ‘J and D International’ to the register of companies, names Webb as a director. Webb was president of the Cayman Islands Football Association at that time.

The document has been seen by Reuters, and was first reported by the Cayman Compass newspaper on Wednesday.

The company, also known as JDI, was used by Warner to secure television rights deals for World Cups from FIFA.

Warner has stated that he personally received Caribbean television rights for several World Cups at a knock-down price, in return for electoral support of FIFA president Sepp Blatter and then sold the rights on to the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), which is part of CONCACAF.

Warner, who was member of FIFA's executive committee from 1983, said in a written statement, shortly after he quit all football positions in 2011, that in 1998 he received the World Cup rights for Trinidad and Tobago from FIFA, through Mexican company OTI, for just one dollar.

Warner said he also received, personally, the rights to the 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups.

Warner denies wrongdoing and has not been charged in connection with those deals.

A 2001 contract between JDI and the CFU seen by Reuters, states the rights were received from German media company Kirchmedia WM Gmbh and that JDI sold them to the CFU for $4.25 million as part of a seven-year deal.

The contract notes that JDI was based in the Cayman Islands in 2001. It is not clear if the company still exists.

Kirchmedia declared itself insolvent in 2002.

Webb had been strongly praised by FIFA President Sepp Blatter and viewed by some as a potential successor as leader of the body.

In his first address, after being elected CONCACAF president in Budapest in 2012, Webb drew applause when he said: "Our past will never be repeated."

Reporting By Simon Evans; editing by Stuart Grudgings.

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