The last president of FIFA’s regional football governing body, Alfredo Hawit, pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court Monday in connection with the ongoing FIFA racketeering and bribery probe.
Hawit, of Honduras, will await sentencing later this year along with his predecessor, Cayman’s Jeffrey Webb, in the scheme American prosecutors allege extorted US$200 million in bribes from sports marketing companies who wanted the commercial rights to certain football tournaments.
According to federal court records, Hawit pleaded guilty to four counts against him in the indictment including racketeering, wire fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to obstruct justice.Hawit served as head of the Caribbean, North and Central American football region after Webb’s arrest in late May 2015 until his arrest in December 2015. Prosecutors have alleged that, rather than attempting to stop corrupt bribery and money laundering practices following the arrest of Webb and his CONCACAF predecessor Jack Warner, Hawit continued in the same vein.
Hawit’s sentencing date is set for Oct. 7, 2016. Webb’s sentencing is set for June.
Warner is fighting extradition from his native Trinidad to the U.S. in a process that is expected to take months, if not years.
CONCACAF is expected to hold internal elections next month to decide on new leadership. The Cayman office operated during Webb’s presidency was closed and is not expected to reopen.
Aside from the guilty pleas, federal prosecutors said eight defendants in the FIFA investigation are now before the U.S. courts and a further nine remain overseas awaiting extradition.
Criminal trial for the remaining defendants could start sometime in February 2017.