Webb FIFA sentencing set for sixth time

Cayman businessman Jeffrey Webb’s sentencing in the FIFA corruption scandal has been put off again by a U.S. federal court, meaning the admitted racketeer will not learn his fate until March – nearly three years after his May 2015 arrest.

According to records released Thursday, Webb’s Jan. 24 sentencing date was delayed “due to a change in the court’s calendar” to March 7. This is the sixth time the sentencing has been reset.

Previous sentencing delays have been attributed to requests from Webb’s attorneys to push back the date.

Webb, a former FIFA vice president, has pleaded guilty to seven counts in a federal court indictment alleging he and dozens of other defendants conspired to rig sports marketing contracts for various world football events in exchange for millions of dollars in bribes.

Since Webb’s November 2015 guilty plea, the U.S. Justice Department’s case against the football fraudsters has progressed significantly. A trial against three defendants ended last month with two suspects, Jose Marin and Juan Napout, being found guilty of the majority of charges filed against them. A third defendant, Manuel Burga, was not convicted of the lone count he faced because the federal jury could not reach a unanimous verdict. He was later acquitted of the charge after further jury deliberations.

A number of other defendants, including former Cayman Islands resident Costas Takkas, have pleaded guilty in the FIFA case. Takkas received a 15-month sentence on one charge against him last year, with 10 months off for time already served in Swiss detention awaiting extradition to the U.S.

The scheme described by U.S. prosecutors alleged Webb, and others at FIFA solicited bribes from sports marketing companies in exchange for directing lucrative broadcasting and commercial rights deals for various football tournaments to the bribe-payers. Dozens of U.S. banks were used to make those alleged bribe payments to Webb and others, prosecutors said.

FIFA’s Ethics Committee also found Webb guilty last year of violating general rules of conduct, rules of loyalty, rules for disclosure and financial reporting, conflicts of interest and bribery and corruption. He has been banned for life from “all football-related activities on a national and international level.”

Webb has sold his mansion in suburban Atlanta, Georgia and proceeds from the sale have been turned over to the U.S. court as part of an asset forfeiture agreement.

A federal court judge told Webb during proceedings for his plea agreement that he could face deportation from the U.S. as part of his sentencing, but that would be up to American immigration authorities.

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