FIFA defendant Takkas gets 15-month sentence

Former Cayman Islands football official and U.K. national Costas Takkas received a 15-month prison sentence Tuesday in U.S. federal court, but he will only be required to serve five months of it.

According to court records released Tuesday, Takkas was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to one count of money laundering conspiracy in connection with the ongoing FIFA bribery and corruption scandal that rocked world football’s governing body in 2015.

However, Federal District Court Judge Pamela Chen credited Takkas with 10 months already served in Swiss detention following his arrest in May 2015. Takkas was held by Swiss authorities while he fought extradition to the U.S.

Prosecutors had earlier argued that Takkas should not receive such credit, as it was his decision to dispute extradition on the charges.

All other charges filed against Takkas in a November 2015 federal court indictment were dropped as part of the deal reached with prosecutors to obtain his guilty plea.

In addition to the prison sentence, Takkas was given a one year term of supervised release and was told he could be deported from the U.S. The court ordered that he turn himself in to federal authorities at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday to begin serving his sentence. Takkas had been out on bail pending sentencing following his guilty plea in May 2017.

In addition, the court found Takkas “joint and several” liable, along with co-defendants in the FIFA case for US$3 million in restitution.

Attorneys for world football’s Central/North American and Caribbean region asked the U.S. court to order Takkas to pay US$3 million to the Caribbean Football Union in recompense for bribe money ultimately given to Cayman’s Jeffrey Webb.

Webb is due to be sentenced for his role in the FIFA racketeering scheme in January 2018.

It was revealed in court records, including the 2015 indictments against Webb, Takkas and other FIFA defendants, that two sports marketing companies arranged to pay Webb US$3 million in bribes to secure marketing rights to World Cup qualifying matches in the Caribbean and Central American region. Although only US$1.75 million of that amount was ever paid, the court alleges that Takkas was involved in laundering all of the money that was paid in bribes.

Caribbean Football Union officials argue that because the two sports marketing companies involved were “willing to pay CFU at least US$3 million more for its media and marketing rights in an honest transaction,” the union believes Takkas’s actions “harmed CFU in at least that amount” and that he should be ordered to pay at least that much in restitution.

Joint and several liability rules vary from state to state in the U.S., but generally they make the obligation to repay a claim the responsibility of all defendants involved in a case.

According to court records issued Tuesday afternoon, Takkas would be required to pay restitution at a rate of US$500 per month during the year period of supervised release.

The Associated Press contributed reporting.