(CNS): As he awaits sentencing in the United States for his part in the huge corruption scandal that has rocked the world of football, one-time local hero Jeffrey Webb, alongside others who have pleaded guilty, is now facing civil legal action from FIFA. Singled out for hiding assets in the legal suit filed in the Eastern District of New York, FIFA’s lawyers, Quinn Emanuel, are asking US authorities to carry out an “immediate accounting of funds and assets of the defendant Jeffrey Webb”, as they claim he is hiding cash.
Complaining that Webb continues to live in the home he “may have purchased with bribes and kickbacks”, the legal action also pointed to the recent reports of a lavish casino-themed birthday party for his wife: “FIFA is concerned that Mr Webb may not have fully disclosed his assets to the Court or the Government … At a minimum, his resources are not being protected for the benefit of his victims.”
Webb has been under house arrest at his Atlanta home for many months after a New York judge allowed him to move from his expensive New York accommodation, where he was originally under tight curfew, having raised $10 million bail with property, fast cars and designer watches and jewellery.
However, in the recent local CarePay trial, in which Webb was accused in his absence of corruption in relation to a hospital contract he secured with a company owned by him and Canover Watson, the court heard that the Georgia mansion was likely purchased with cash paid in kickbacks from that scheme — though details of the US Department of Justice indictment against Webb and other football officials and sports marketing executives noted that the Grand Cayman-shaped pool at the house was probably financed through FIFA related bribes and kickbacks.
As well as seeking to get back tens of millions of dollars that FIFA acknowledges were creamed off by its own management, the legal claim also refers to broader allegations about the “damage done by the defendants’ greed” that has “deeply tarnished the FIFA brand” and undermined its ability to “unite and inspire football players and fans throughout the world”.
The civil action comes following the election last month of the new FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, who has said he wants the organisation’s money back. More than a half a billion dollars is believed to have been creamed off by FIFA’s former executives.