U.S. hopeful more FIFA defendants will be extradited soon

Fri Aug 14, 2015 1:43pm EDT
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By Nate Raymond

(Reuters) - U.S. authorities are hopeful that more of the former FIFA officials and marketing executives who were indicted in May on bribery and corruption charges could soon be extradited to New York, a prosecutor said on Friday.

Speaking during a hearing in Brooklyn federal court in the case of former FIFA Vice President Jeffrey Webb, prosecutor Evan Norris said discussions were ongoing with lawyers for "a number of other defendants overseas" regarding their possible extradition to face the charges.

Only three of the 14 people indicted in the sweeping investigation of international soccer and its governing bodies are currently in the United States. Six are in Switzerland, two are in Argentina, one is in Brazil, one is in Paraguay and one is in Trinidad.

World soccer was thrown into turmoil in May when U.S. authorities announced the indictment, saying the 14 men corrupted the sport by agreeing to more than $150 million in bribes and kickbacks for media and marketing rights.

U.S. authorities say their investigation, which is continuing, has exposed complex money laundering schemes, millions of dollars in untaxed incomes and tens of millions of dollars in offshore accounts held by FIFA officials.

After agreeing to be extradited from Switzerland, Webb, a Cayman Islands national, pleaded not guilty last month to charges that he solicited bribes from sports marketing companies in exchange for the commercial rights to soccer matches.

Edward O'Callaghan, Webb's lawyer, declined to comment after the hearing.

The case is U.S. v. Webb, et al, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, No. 1:15-cr-252.

The logo of FIFA is seen in front of its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland July 20, 2015. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann