NEW YORK: Former FIFA vice president Jeffrey Webb, the first of 14 suspects indicted in a global corruption scandal rocking world football to agree to extradition, has arrived in the United States, US media reports said on Thursday (Friday in Manila).
The New York Times reported that Webb was “currently in the United States,” quoting a person who has been briefed on the investigation. CNN reported that he arrived in New York on Wednesday, quoting a law enforcement official.
The Swiss justice ministry said Thursday that the only one of the seven FIFA officials held in the country, after their May arrest in Zurich, who was not contesting extradition had been handed over to US authorities on Wednesday.
The justice ministry declined to name the official, but reports have identified him as Webb, a former FIFA vice president from the Cayman Islands with property in the States.
The New York attorney’s office, which unveiled the massive corruption case against world football’s governing body in May, declined to comment. Webb’s lawyer was also not reachable.
District Judge Raymond Dearie has been assigned the case, but it was not immediately clear when Webb may appear in court.
US prosecutors accuse Webb of taking bribes in return for granting the television rights to World Cup matches, regional tournaments and championships in North and South America.
News about Webb’s arrival came as FIFA hired a New York crisis management company to help manage the backlash created by the massive corruption scandal and refurbish its reputation.
“FIFA has retained global advisory firm Teneo to work across operational and reputational priorities,” a spokesperson told AFP in Zurich.
One of Teneo’s founding partners is Douglas Band, who worked in the Clinton White House and was on the board of directors of the US bid to host the World Cup in 2018 and 2022.
The subsequent awarding of those tournaments to Russia and Qatar is under investigation in Switzerland.
The New York-based firm did not return requests to comment.
On Friday, a status conference is scheduled in a New York court for US sports marketing executive Aaron Davidson, the only suspect arrested in the US over the FIFA scandal.
Since his arrest, the parties have been actively engaged in plea negotiations.