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Football: Jail for second defendant in FIFA scandal

New York (AFP) – Costas Takkas, a British-Greek accountant and former Cayman Islands Football Federation official, on Tuesday became the second defendant sentenced to jail in the FIFA corruption scandal in the United States.

Judge Pamela Chen sentenced the 61-year-old accountant to 15 months in prison, 10 months of which Takkas already served in Switzerland after his arrest in May 2015 and prior to his extradition to the United States.

Chen also ordered the former Cayman Islands Football Federation general secretary to pay $3 million restitution shared with former FIFA vice president Jeffrey Webb, who pleaded guilty to a raft of offenses in November 2015.

The largest corruption scandal in the history of soccer, first unveiled in May 2015, has seen US prosecutors indict 42 football and sports marketing executives with allegedly receiving tens of millions of bribes and kickbacks.

Born in Cyprus and holding Greek and British nationalities, Takkas was one of six FIFA officials arrested in Zurich at the request of US authorities. He was extradited to New York in March 2016.

In May, Takkas pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering conspiracy in a federal court in New York. His jail term in the United States will begin on Tuesday, and he will be deported to the Cayman Islands upon release.

Webb, who awaits sentencing confined to house arrest in the US state of Georgia, accepted a $3 million bribe for granting two sports marketing companies the rights to 2018 and 2022 World Cup qualifier matches played by Caribbean teams.

More than half the money was funnelled through front companies and accounts controlled by Takkas, which he then distributed at Webb’s direction.

The US corruption investigation precipitated the downfall of longtime FIFA president Sepp Blatter and his former heir apparent, Michel Platini.

Just three Latin American defendants who have continued to plead not guilty are due to go on trial in a US federal court in Brooklyn on November 6.

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