By the time Cayman’s Jeffrey Webb is sentenced over his role in the FIFA racketeering scandal, it will have been nearly three years since he pleaded guilty to seven criminal charges in the investigation.
A U.S. federal court judge agreed Friday to delay the Cayman Islands resident’s criminal sentence further – to Sept. 7 – just days before Mr. Webb was due to learn his fate in the bribery scheme. Mr. Webb’s attorneys requested the delay last week and federal prosecutors voiced no objections.
The former FIFA vice president was arrested in May 2015 and pleaded guilty in November 2015 to seven counts in a U.S. 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.
Mr. Webb is not the only defendant in the case to have multiple sentencing dates assigned. His successor at CONCACAF (FIFA’s North and Central American and Caribbean region), Alfredo Hawit, also saw his sentence put back to September, last week.
A number of other defendants, including former Cayman Islands resident Costas Takkas, have pleaded guilty in the FIFA case. Mr. 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 Mr. Webb and others at FIFA solicited bribes from sports marketing companies in exchange for directing lucrative broadcast 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 Mr. Webb and others, prosecutors said.
It is unclear what Mr. Webb’s fate will be once his U.S. sentence is decided and any jail time assigned is served.
The Cayman Islands national is facing separate charges of conspiracy to defraud the local government in connection with the CarePay public hospital swipe-card scandal, and Anti-Corruption Commission investigators are looking into another matter involving the Cayman Islands Football Association, of which Mr. Webb was president for more than 20 years.
During earlier U.S. court proceedings, the presiding judge in the case noted that deportation was a likely result of Mr. Webb’s criminal conviction.
However, U.S. District Court Judge Raymond Dearie said that the final decision in the matter was largely out of the court’s hands.
“[Deportation] is not a decision that I make,” Judge Dearie said during plea proceedings in November 2015, which were released in heavily redacted form in April 2016.
“It is a decision made by other authorities, immigration folks,” the judge continued, speaking to Mr. Webb and his attorney. “I bring it to your attention because it is a likely consequence of your conviction.”
Since then, the case has been reassigned to another district court judge, Pamela Chen, who will decide sentencing later this year.
It is likely that Mr. Webb will receive a reduced sentence in exchange for his cooperation with U.S. federal prosecutors in the FIFA investigation, but details of any sentencing agreements have never been disclosed.
Mr. Webb has a right to appeal the sentence if he feels the court’s decision is unreasonable.