U.S. sports exec in plea talks in FIFA corruption case: prosecutors

Thu Jul 16, 2015 6:57pm EDT
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By Nate Raymond and Katharina Bart

NEW YORK/ZURICH (Reuters) - A sports marketing executive who was indicted along with 13 other people in a U.S. corruption case that has rocked the soccer world has been discussing a plea deal with prosecutors, according to a court filing on Thursday.

Aaron Davidson, who was the head of Traffic Group's U.S. unit in Miami, has since his arrest in May been "actively engaged in plea negotiations," prosecutors said in a letter filed in federal court in Brooklyn, New York.

The letter was filed ahead of a court hearing for Davidson scheduled for Friday. Davidson's lawyer declined to comment.

Court proceedings in the sprawling corruption case are ramping up, as Swiss authorities have extradited to the United States a defendant who was among seven current and former FIFA officials arrested in Zurich.

FIFA, soccer's world governing body, has hired a New York-based crisis communications and consulting firm, Teneo, to help handle the multinational probes and try to restore its tarnished image.

Swiss authorities did not name the extradited official, but the news came six days after a source told Reuters that Jeffrey Webb, one of the seven executives arrested on May 27, had agreed not to fight his extradition.

In May, Davidson pleaded not guilty to charges that he secured sports marketing contracts worth more than $35 million for Traffic, in part by arranging bribes for Webb. He posted a $5 million bond and is under house arrest.

The letter filed in court on Thursday did not give details of the plea negotiations. It said prosecutors had begun disclosing some material to Davidson's lawyers that could be used as evidence in the case.   Continued...

Aaron Davidson, a Miami sports marketing executive, exits Brooklyn Federal Court following his arraignment for his alleged involvement in the FIFA corruption scandal, in the Brooklyn borough of New York May 29, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid