AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Georgia millionaire confesses in FIFA bribery scandal

Rockdale County resident Jeffrey Webb wanted to enrich himself. So he took bribes from sports marketing companies and embezzled money intended to help soccer organizations he represented as a top official in the international soccer organization FIFA.

Those details of his plea agreement were unsealed Monday by a federal judge in New York, along with pleas by two other top soccer officials involved in the conspiracy.

Webb, who has been on home detention in his Loganville mansion since his arrest last year, is described in the court documents as a stay-at-home dad to his toddler son. A citizen of the Cayman Islands, he is married to Georgia physician Kendra Gamble-Webb, who works in the Atlanta area.

The plea deal allows Webb to leave his home between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily to run errands related to care of his son.

Webb faces sentencing in June and could be deported, the plea deal shows. He also agreed to forfeit $6.7 million in illicit proceeds, Bloomberg reported.

Large portions of the plea transcript are blacked out. But the transcript records his detailed confession of bribes he took from the time he was president of the Cayman Island Football Association, through his time with the Caribbean Football Union and CONCACAF, the soccer confederation that represents North America, Central America and the Caribbean. He also was a vice president at FIFA.

"Upon attaining these leadership positions, I began to exercise significant influence over the awarding of commercial rights associated with football tournaments, organized by CONCACAF or CFU.," he told the court.

"In this capacity, I abused my position to obtain bribes and kickbacks for my personal benefit. Among other things, I agreed to commit at least two counts of racketeering activity, together with other co-conspirators to accept bribes from sports marketing companies, to favor them when awarding sponsorship and media rights for football tournaments.

"For example, in or about 2012, a co-conspirator told me that sports marketing companies would offer us side payments in exchange for awarding them commercial rights to World Cup qualify matches for the CFU nations. At the time I understood this to be a bribe offer, and I believed that such offers were common in this business.

"Because I wanted to enrich myself, I agreed to receive, and share bribes with coconspirators, in connection with the sale of commercial rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup qualifying matches from the CFU member associations.

"Later in 2012 and 2013, I agreed with co-conspirators to accept bribes in connection with the sale of commercial rights to the Gold Cup, and champion league, CONCACAF Club Tournament.

"Then in 2013 and 2014, I agreed with co-conspirators, that we would accept bribes in connection with the sale of commercial rights to the Copa America Centenario tournament, which is a special centennial edition of the tournament that would be hosted in the United States."




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About the Author

Lois Norder is Senior Editor for Investigations in the newsroom at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.