Webb accused of taking $$millions in bribes

| 27/05/2015 | 80 Comments
Cayman News Service

Jeff Webb at CONCACAF’s 30th Ordinary Congress

(CNS): The damning 164-page indictment against Cayman’s football boss, Jeffrey Webb, and many other current and former FIFA officials, as well as those involved in the marketing of international football tournaments, has been released. Webb is accused alongside other named and unnamed officials as taking millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks and being involved in the laundering of the cash through Cayman-based firms and local banks.

The allegations in the huge US operation that spread to Switzerland this morning, where Webb was arrested and is now understood to be waiting extradition to the United States, covers more than twenty-five years, underpinning the ongoing allegations of systemic corruption in FIFA for decades.

Webb faces charges of racketeering and several counts of wire fraud and money laundering.

According to the indictment and Webb’s alleged role in the corruption and racketeering scandal, nothing changed when the Caymanian took over the reins of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) in the wake of allegations against his predecessor, Jack Warner, who has also been charged in this widespread investigation.

When the new management assumed their respective positions, Webb and another unnamed alleged co-conspirator made public pronouncements about reforming CONCACAF.

“Almost immediately after taking office, however, both men resumed their involvement in criminal schemes,” the indictment alleges. “The change in administration at CONCACAF and CONMEBOL (South American Football Confederation) did not usher in an era of reform at those organizations. Instead, the new leadership continued to engage in criminal schemes in violation of their fiduciary duties,” the indictment reads.

Cayman News Service

Costas Takkas

“In early 2012, the defendant Jeffrey Webb, who had long been the president of CIFA (Cayman Islands Football Association), emerged as a candidate to succeed the defendant Jack Warner as the next CONCACAF president. Co-conspirator #4, then an executive at Traffic USA (a sports marketing firm deeply involved in the alleged corruption scandal) supported Webb’s candidacy by causing $50,000 to be paid from Traffic USA’s operating account to a Caymanian company controlled by the defendant Costas Takkas, a long-time associate of Webb and the former general secretary of CIFA. “

The US prosecutors accuse Webb and Takkas, who was working up until yesterday as Webb’s attache in the recently relocated Miami-based HQ of CONCACAF, used his growing influence to solicit a bribe from Traffic USA in connection with its efforts to acquire from the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) the commercial rights of its members to the qualifier matches to be played in advance of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, the indictment states.

Bribes totaling as much as $110 million were reportedly agreed to be paid to Jeffrey Webb, Eugenio Figueredo, Rafael Esquivel, José Maria Marin, Nicolás Leoz and several other soccer officials in connection with tournament rights. At least $40 million has been paid to date, the US prosecutors claim.

The officials say that the defendants and their co-conspirators corrupted the football enterprise by engaging in various criminal activities, including fraud, bribery and money laundering, in pursuit of personal and commercial gain. The defendants also participated in the corruption of the enterprise by conspiring with and aiding and abetting their co-conspirators in the abuse of their positions of trust and the violation of their fiduciary duties.

“The conspirators engaged in conduct designed to prevent the detection of their illegal activities, to conceal the location and ownership of proceeds of those activities, and to promote the carrying on of those activities. The conduct engaged in by various members of the conspiracy included, among other things: the use of ‘consulting services’ agreements and other similar types of contracts to create an appearance of legitimacy for illicit payments; the use of various mechanisms, including trusted intermediaries, bankers, financial advisors, and currency dealers, to make and facilitate the making of illicit payments; the creation and use of shell companies, nominees, and numbered bank accounts in tax havens and other secretive banking jurisdictions; the active concealment of foreign bank accounts; the structuring of financial transactions to avoid currency reporting requirements; bulk cash smuggling; the purchase of real property and other physical assets; the use of safe deposit boxes; income tax evasion; and obstruction of justice.”

The indictment states that Webb also received $500,000 in December 2012, believed to be the last payment in a bribe of $1.5 million from Traffic USA through the account of another individual and an account controlled by the defendant Takkas at Fidelity Bank here in Cayman. That money was then in turn, allegedly, sent to pay for swimming pool work Webb was having done at a property in Georgia and other accounts held in the state by Webb.

The CONCACAF boss is also accused of taking a $1.1 million bribe to award the 2012 Gold Cup/Champions League Contract to Traffic USA via false invoices to a company making soccer strips. Webb allegedly received a further $2 million for the 2013 Gold Cup. Meanwhile, Webb and other CONCACAF officials received several more millions of dollars for the special Copa América Centenario competition.

CNS has contacted both CONCACAF and CIFA, however officials from the local football body said there would be no comment on the issue at this time. CONCACAF said it was “deeply concerned” and it would continue to cooperate with the authorities to its fullest capacity.

“At present, CONCACAF is not in a position to comment further on the specific allegations, which have been referred to the appropriate legal counsel through the pertinent channels. CONCACAF continues to operate in the ordinary course of business, hosting all of its upcoming tournaments in a successful and timely manner, including the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup,” it stated.

In the wake of Webb’s arrest, the Cayman Islands premier’s office issued a short statement: “We are aware of the news regarding Mr Jeff Webb, President of CONCACAF and Vice President of FIFA. We will continue to monitor the media as this is a developing story and an ongoing investigation. As such, we have no comment at this time.”

CNS also asked RCIPS Police Commissioner David Baines, who is chair of the Anti-Corruption Committee, if the Cayman Islands was involved in the probe.

“It would not be appropriate for me to comment on the arrest of Jeffrey Webb, either in respect of international issues or Cayman issues at this time. Further, I cannot comment upon any joint action by RCIPS Anti Corruption Unit and/or the FBI,” Baines stated.

US Indictment of Jeffrey Webb et al

Press release from the US Department of Justice

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Category: Crime, World News

Comments (80)

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  1. Crab Claw says:

    How come no dirt was turned up on the other federations, and how blatant was SA they made direct payments, why are no charges brought against them?

    • Garfield says:

      The answer is simple, CONCACAF is headquartered in Miami, the U.S. Is a member of CONCACAF and when one reads the idictment one can see that most of the illegal transactions went through American banks. The Americans have jurisdictional legal control over the situation.

    • Jus da fax says:

      In addition to the 14 named defendants, there are 25 unnamed co-conspirators documented in the indictment. Co-conspirators #15 & #16 are “a high-ranking official of the 2006 South Africa World Cup bid committee and the 2010 South Africa World
      Cup bid committee and local organizing committee.”

      There are other defendants and co-conspirators from various federations including AFC. Do the facts matter…?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Don’t let ghosts fool you. This investigation obviously runs deep. Good work to all those involved in putting the pieces together! #plainclothes

  3. Anonymous says:

    All hearts are with the Caymanian football loving people and especially the footballers themselves along with their dedicated coaches, families, friends and all of the loyal supporters of football. The comments of Anonymous 27/05/2015 at 9:34pm are excellent and hopefully will be followed through especially with respect to the grants and the demands for CIFA to be reformed. The last two sentences of the post are profound and moving and represent sound advisory comments indeed. It is hoped that with all due haste that the local governing body of CIFA be changed immediately and the matter of the funding grants be also immediately resolved for the benefit of the outstanding local footballers of yesterday, today, tomorrow and beyond.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Let us all pray for the man Webb that he comes clear……I know it’s too much to ask but it is possible as you all may realize that some people just find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time negotiating with the wrong people…..let’s hear the last word: God’s!!!!!!!!

  5. Knot S Smart says:

    Oh well… What goes up must come down…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Accepting a bribe is only part of the crime – whoever negotiated and paid these bribes – and those that quietly enabled the custody and international payment system should also be on the hook. I’m a bit disappointed that the RCIPS have not already made or announced coordinated arrests in regard to any locals concerning the later. Those people have been given almost 48 hrs to flee by now. Hopefully this is not next week’s international embarrassment.

  7. Anonymous says:

    CIFA you need to ensure that our vote does not go to Blatter in the coming FIFA presidency election. Also you need to publish account for the past 5 to 10 years to show the CI public where the local funds have been spent.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Post a copy of his bank accounts if you are so sure, otherwise turn the gas valve off

  9. Anonymous says:

    Shoulda had the FBI investigate Mac in 2012. lol

    • Anonymous says:

      Does anyone know if the US authorities conducted any investigation in relation to the so-called Stan Thomas letter?

  10. Anonymous says:

    it’s sad to know anything involving a caymanian is spread on the news like wild fire . Person found guily before trial. One thing as a young caymaian I realized my people build the country but to people we are not good enough to run it . If Mr Webb is quilty he will pay the cost but remember he isn’t the only one .

    • Just Sayin' says:

      If Mr. Webb is quilty, he is going to need more bribes to pay his AC bill

    • Anonymous says:

      So you built it did you? What about the underpaid and mistreated expat workforce that actually got their hands dirty in the process or the expert financial and legal workers who established or transferred their business to Cayman?
      No my friend, you may have facilitated the building and growth, but you sure as hell didn’t do the hard graft needed.

    • Anonymous says:

      By your people you mean the Jamaicans, Irish, Scottish and English I presume since they were the setlers

      • Anonymous says:

        Not Jamaicans, they were Africans in Jamaica just like the Irish, English and Scottish! My God slaves in Jamaica were not from jamaica

  11. Anonymous says:

    Jeff will have all the balls to play with , where he is going.

    • Anonymous says:

      hahaha…@7:5pm, your post is fitting for “kitchen table talk”; but, not for this forum. Be nice. [Wink, Wink]

  12. Driftwood says:

    Errrr, innocent until proven guilty. Always. None of us has any insight as to whether this is true or not. Webb was the only clear challenge (in 2019) to Blatter. Tell me how that shmuck survives so many corruption scandals without being forced out….he is in charge and as with any leader ultimately responsible. And throwing people under busses, no-one better at it! So stop judging, the facts will come out, eventually. However, even if innocent, his career is screwed, because this will run for years.

    • Anonymous says:

      The court of public opinion has no such rule. Millions into his bank accounts…for what?

    • Anonymous says:

      True – but I don’t feel sorry for any of them. You want to play with the big boys, make tons of money and get all kind of privileges, you must know that you are attracting all kind of political back-stabbing and that you are surrounding yourself with a certain caliber of people.

    • Anonymous says:

      So you think Blatter should resign because he is in charge, but I am guessing you would not apply that logic to those in your own country who are in leadership roles who fall very far short of honorable conduct.

  13. Anonymous says:

    ………so the 2022 world cup in Qatar will be moved to the USA. This will be conveniently determined by the Swiss (who appear to handle that investigation) and therefore a decision made at armth length from the US. In exchange, I assume the US will stop poking around in some secret Swiss bank accounts for a while giving the Swiss a break for a bit on that subject. Not surprised if the Jordanian would be moved in as FIFA president (don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to see Blatter go!) with another orchestrated side transaction. FIFA has been full with corruption for years, so it is not just a pure coincidence that this all happened after the US lost their bid for the 2022 World Cup. I am sure the US is not just doing all of this to be a good citizen of the world! Whilst I am glad that the CONCACAF head folks finally got what they long deserved, their arrest is just a means to an end. The 105 million laundered is petty cash in comparison to the economic benefits of hosting a World Cup! As Tom Smith said, perhaps someone crossed the wrong people when the 2022 World Cup was given to Qatar and I totally agree.

    • Anonymous says:

      I could not agree with you more. They want to hold 2022 World Cup. USA, time to mind your own dirty business!

    • Anonymous says:

      Was Jeff Webb smart? I don’t think so. He should’ve known that it was just a matter of time for this to happen, from the moment Russia won the 2018 bid. The U.S. certainly wouldn’t be pleased with the sculduggery.

    • Cass says:

      This has been an ongoing investigation from the late 90’s. Jeff had no idea what he was getting into. Don’t jump in the deep end if you can’t swim.

    • Anonymous says:

      The FBI are indicting these people because of multiple crimes committed on US soil. And because they believe in justice, and bringing criminals to it.

      • Anonymous says:

        More like him (in Cayman) need to be sitting before Judges in NYC Federal Courts; especially, for white-collar crimes.

    • Anonymous says:

      So it’s all politically motivated from the USA, and $105 million bribes is small potatoes in the bigger scheme of things? Hell of an attitude, dude.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Where is Minister of Sports on this? Who is representing CIFA at the congress now?
    Mr Bodden, Cayman should not be supporting re-election of Sepp Blatter.

  15. A european lawyer says:

    It is time for our Government to invest marketing money fight the bad reputation created by Webb and his friends. i read yesterday some Spanish, French and Italian newspapers and our image is damaged. We need to explain to Europeans that the Cayman Islands are a clean jurisdiction where they can do business in respect of people and international laws.

  16. Lighthouse Captain says:

    Aaaaah boi. Jeff looks like he finally got entangled in his own webb. Very sad news. I was hoping that someday Cayman would have been made proud.

    • Anonymous says:

      You can be proud but most of your older generation who were hard workers and honorable people unlike the majority of those sitting in the LA.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Maybe now it’s time to start asking questions about what happened to CIFA’s ‘Centre for Excellence’. This project was started some eight years ago and has apparently so far been funded to the tune of several $million without any tangible results. While we’re digging into this can of worms someone might also like to take a critical look at the way contracts were placed for upgrading the local football pitches to FIFA standards in 2007/8.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Look on the bright side. At least Bryce Merren will have someone to play dominos with.

  19. Anonymous says:

    He was a person I look up to until he turn my loan down in 2008 , sad we have a lot of locals who is doing the same thing now and because of the failures of Caymanian who go alone with corruption those culprits are still amounts’ us living the dreams while our youth are suffering my people will never learn, this is no surprise to many what happen to one of our owned sadly it was not the large groups we have here.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Oh, my word!
    Business as usually in Cayman once again gets netted in USDOJ, FBI, and IRS Indictment. More to come.

    Lawwwwwd.

  21. Anonymous says:

    In fairness, they have probably been conducting business this way for so long that they might not have realised what they were doing was not quite kosher. The parallel, albeit somewhat farfetched and hard to imagine, would be a politician going on frequent official trips overseas for the purpose of gambling at casinos and using his government credit card for cash withdrawals in order to play. In his mind it was perfectly acceptable because he had been doing it for so long and no one had said it was wrong.

    #Alright, Alright, Alright……

    • Anonymous says:

      Normal business practise in third world countries. So Morocco lost a bribe of 1 mil. against S. Africa’s 10 mil.? Big deal. Although you were being facetious, you have a good point about not acknowledging or even recognizing that certain business practices are corrupt.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Just about a month ago I was reading an article about Jeff Webb and I was thinking to myself, if I ever saw him again in person…… I was going to give him a firm hand shake and thank him for all that he was doing for football in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere. Not to mention his high rise into the ranks of FIFA.

    I was even thinking that when the current president of FIFA stepped down, Jeff would most likely be the ideal person to take his place as the new president. What a day that would be for the Cayman Islands I thought. Jamaica has Usain Bolt and the Cayman Islands has Jeff as the President of FIFA. Obviously, that was wishful thinking on my part.

    It appears that the United States DOJ, FBI and IRS have done extensive investigative work and Jeff and the others probably has a prepared jail cell…… ready and awaiting them in New York.

    Unfortunately for the Cayman Islands, this day in our history will be known as “Cayman Fallout”

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you serious? What has he done for Cayman football? Look at half of the football pitches which are in dire need or repairs, not to mention the one that is right next to the CIFA’s office and is just now finally being fixed! I can ensure you that Cayman saw very little benefits of him having been head of CONCACAF!

    • Anonymous says:

      Why are you surprised and where have you been for the last 20 years when it was an open secret about FIFA. If you were ever in any doubt the Qatar deal should have finally opened your eyes. Also Webb grew up in the Cayman Islands where dirty deals are the norm.

  23. Cole says:

    It’s a damn shame and an embarrassment to this country. the younger generation don’t stand a chance no one to look up to. Btw what the heck is CIMA doing? This should have been flagged and caught.

  24. Anonymous says:

    And que the race baiters… I’m sure the comments of him being targeted by the racist US government because he is black will be lining up shortly.

  25. Anonymous says:

    The article states that $500,000 was funnelled through Fidelity Bank. Interesting to see CIMA’s take on this, like what KYC was done to ascertain the source of the funds and where did the rest flow through? US officials take a dim view of banks involved in this sort of thing, just ask Caledonian.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is an almost insignificant number compared to the billions of dollars that are handed to Caymans banks in order to avoid taxation. Until Cayman completely disowns criminal money from wherever it originates, it’s international reputation will remain one of a facilitator of criminality.

      • Anonymous says:

        Mostly interbank bookings by regulated overseas banks to their Cayman branches. Actual deposits in Cayman banks are relatively tiny. For some reason however the CIG still believes it is beneficial publicity to cling to the claim that all sums booked are deposits thereby playing directly into the hands of people like you.

        • Anonymous says:

          Oh that’s okay then, so just because the money doesn’t actually cross the bank counter, it’s not Cayman’s fault. So HSBC didn’t hold Mexican drug money here on Cayman or facilitate its cleansing, it was all a misunderstanding?
          If you have nothing to hide, why are you still one of the worlds leading go to destinations for crooked money and tax exiles, it certainly isn’t for one decent beach?

      • Anonymous says:

        …and, CIMA doesn’t do enough regulate our financial industry. It’s just left to be run amock by the institutions themselves, until the ISDOJ, FBI, SEC, and IRS intervenes; then, CIMA “attempts” to act like a so-called authority when they are merely trying to do damage control. CIMA is a statutory body operated by a bunch of looney toonies.

    • Anonymous says:

      How come I as a Caymanian person of modest means cannot even send a bank draft for $100 to the UK from Cayman without my bank (FCIB) asking all sorts of stupid questions, fill in a form and making me feel like a crook. Our Monetary Authority is a damn joke and from the massively paid Manager downwards there needs to be a cleanout. It is not fit for purpose.

      • Anonymous says:

        @ 7:21pm, I completely understand…You’re no crook [neither am I]
        A wise man once said, “Meekly wait and murmur not.”

      • Anonymous says:

        Its not just here. I have endless trouble with banks querying my tiny transactions while the criminals get to do what ever they wish. The checks and balances were put in place to stop money laundering. They clearly have failed to work but do put obstacles in the way of ordinary law abiding citizens like you and me.

    • SSM345 says:

      5:49, Jeff Webb worked for Fidelity, I think that’s all the KYC they needed.

      • Anonymous says:

        @3:17pm. Point taken. And, there are plenty of “KYC” Former Employees like him, associated with other local financial institutions.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am surprised to hear that the IRS only has CIBC-FCIB under investigation. Fidelity bank (and its history) is a good place to start. The IRS likes projects. Fidelity is a good one to slate for a probe.

  26. Anonymous says:

    After the arrests Sepp Blatter was unofficially quoted as saying, “Ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, ho, hee, hee, hee, try as you can you can’t catch me!”

    • Anonymous says:

      ‘Spoken like a true corrupt, louche, aristocratic parasite. Unless one of these Capos like Webb flips on Sepp they have only managed to ding some dons in a global framework whose gears work because of the grease, and which will find new greasemen.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Terrible news for Cayman’s reputation

    • Mark says:

      Mr. Webb should be deeply ashamed not only for the tarnish he will bring to Cayman’s reputation (and this will reinforce pre-existing ‘misconceptions’) but also for the larger stain he has put on the game of football. If found guilty, and the evidence sounds rather damning, I hope he receives the maximum penalty for all charges, as the damage he has done by being such a greedy individual, to both Cayman and football, is immeasurable.

      • A european lawyer says:

        Our government need to invest money to rebuild our image in Europe and explain that we are a clean and an honest jurisdiction.

        • Anonymous says:

          The government does not need to invest money in this kind of PR. Instead, Cayman has to actually “be” a clean and honest jurisdiction.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t worry. Cayman’s reputation is about as poor as it can get already. Oh, but apparently we do have a nice beach (:

    • Anonymous says:

      What I can’t imagine is what took them so long..!!

      • Sharkey says:

        When these investigation are done properly, you have to take time and make sure all i’s are dotted, and all t’s are crossed, I think that all i’s and t’s are in good shape.

  28. Big Brown says:

    FYI: Jack Warner was not arrested. He is in Trinidad and gave a statement earlier today declaring his innocence. The US has requested his extradition from the Government of Trinidad & Tobago.

    • Philis says:

      nope he just handed himself in

    • Anonymous says:

      This is for the court of public opinion. Since 1998 CIFA has received 5 million US dollars from FIFA Annual FAP grant for the development of the game locally. As we know there has never been any transperancy in how these funds was spent. For 2015 CIFA has been guaranteed 1.3 million U.S. dollars from this fund due to this being an election year for the prisident of FIFA. Sepp Blatter made that commitment to FIFA 209 National Associations at the San Paulo FIFA Congress before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The question is did CIFA collect this fund already which I think they did. As always no transperancy. You the public which this beautiful game represents and your children who so enthusiastically play it has a right to know about these funds for which the higher precentage have to be spent on the development of youth football. We the Caymanian football loving people must demand that CIFA be reformed, based on our dismal and disgracing results on and off the field. What just transpired in Zurich Switerzland with our current Prisident and locally with the treasurer of CIFA is more than enough grounds for us the football public to demand that our local governing body CIFA be changed immediately.

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