First of ‘FIFA seven’ extradited

One of seven defendants arrested in connection with an international racketeering and bribery case involving world football’s governing body was sent back to the U.S. to face charges Wednesday.

According to a statement released by Switzerland’s Federal Office of Justice: “[The unnamed man] was handed over to a three-man U.S. police escort in Zurich who accompanied him on the flight to New York.”

Swiss officials have declined to identify the defendant who is being sent to the U.S. after agreeing to extradition proceedings last week. However, several international news sources – including Bloomberg News Service, which first reported it – identified the defendant as Cayman Islands native Jeffrey Webb.

Prosecutors in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York declined to comment on the extradition and no publicly available court records about the case had been released as of early Thursday.

Webb is facing 15 counts in the 47-count U.S. indictment lodged against nine current and former FIFA officials and five sports marketing executives, alleging that FIFA officials accepted bribes in exchange for awarding the commercialization rights to certain international football tournaments over a period of more than two decades. 

Webb, who is the former FIFA vice president and ex-president of CONCACAF [FIFA’s regional governing body for the North and Central America and Caribbean region], has been charged with racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering and money laundering conspiracy.

He could face more than 20 years in prison if convicted in a trial.

An indictment in U.S. federal court is merely an accusation of guilt and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.