Former CONCACAF and Caymans football official pleads guilty to money laundering
A former Cayman Islands football association and CONCACAF official has pleaded guilty to money laundering in a £3m bribery case.
Last week in a US federal court in Brooklyn, New York, UK resident Costas Takkas, 60, pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy in connection with his receipt and transmission of millions of dollars in bribes paid to now-former CONCACAF president and FIFA vice president, Jeffrey Webb.
Takkas, who is a former general secretary of the Cayman Islands football federation, was the attaché to Webb at the time of Takkas’s arrest in Zurich, Switzerland. The arrest was pursuant to an indictment unsealed in May 2015 alleging various corrupt schemes relating to organised international football events, the court heard.
At sentencing, Takkas faces a maximum sentence of 20 years, a statement released by the US Department of Justice said.
According to court filings and facts presented during the plea proceeding, former CONCACAF (logo pictured left) president and FIFA vice president, Webb accepted a US$3m bribe in exchange for using his influence to award and enforce a contract granting two sports marketing companies the media and marketing rights to home World Cup qualifier matches played by teams representing soccer federations of the Caribbean Football Union during the 2018 and 2022 qualification cycles, the US Department of Justice said.
Webb, Takkas, and representatives of Traffic USA, one of the sports marketing companies, arranged for Traffic USA to funnel half of Webb’s US$3m bribe through front companies and accounts controlled by Takkas. After receiving this US$1.5m, Takkas distributed these funds at Webb’s direction.
Media World, the other sports marketing company, paid approximately US$500,000 of its US$1.5m share of the bribe money through a sham transaction involving a false invoice, to accounts controlled by Takkas. Webb pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and other offenses on November 23, 2015 and, in his allocution, he admitted, among other things, accepting this bribe.
The guilty plea from of Takkas is a significant coup in the widespread ongoing investigation into corruption in international football, that is being led by the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the FBI New York Field Office, and the IRS-CI Los Angeles Field Office.
Last week’s plea proceeding took place before United States District Judge Pamela K. Chen. The guilty plea was announced by Bridget M. Rohde, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director in Charge, FBI New York Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge R. Damon Rowe, IRS Criminal Investigation, Los Angeles Field Office.