Banned FIFA official Jeffrey Webb has pleaded 'not guilty' on racketeering and corruption charges. He is the first high-ranking FIFA representative to appear in front a New York court over the recent corruption scandal.
The Brooklyn federal court released Webb on a $10 million bond, following the hearing on Saturday. He will be required to wear a tracking device and stay in a 20-mile (32-kilometer) radius of the court building.
The 50-year old Webb was one of the seven high-profile FIFA executives arrested in the Zurich late May. The Swiss raid sparked an international scandal, with US prosecutors accusing the FIFA officials and business executives of running a massive corruption scheme.
Webb faces charges of racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering. The US officials also allege that Webb took seven million dollars (close to 6.5 million euros) in bribes from Traffic Sports USA, for contracts granting the marketing company exclusive rights to soccer tournaments.
The dual British and Cayman Islands citizen used a $500,000 bribe to build a swimming pool at his house in the US state of Georgia, according to the indictment.
Traffic Sports USA is a subsidiary of the Brazil-based Traffic Group, which deals in media and marketing rights for football games.
Finding a successor for Blatter
In the aftermath of the Zurich raid, the former vice president of FIFA was provisionally banned from his positions in the organization. In the process, he was removed from the helm of CONCACAF, a regional body that oversees soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean.
The other six FIFA officials arrested in Zurich are still in Switzerland, fighting extradition to the US.
The Zurich raids shook FIFA to the core, and prompted the global body's president, Sepp Blatter, to announce his intention to stand down.
FIFA's executive committee is set to meet next Monday and work out a timetable for a vote on Blatter's replacement. However, many observers still believe it is possible for the long-reigning FIFA president to reverse his decision.
dj/gsw (Reuters, AFP, AP)