Former Fifa vice-president Webb living it up prior to sentencing

Jeffrey Webb, who will have US$6.7 million in assets seized, has been leading a lavish lifestyle.
Jeffrey Webb, who will have US$6.7 million in assets seized, has been leading a lavish lifestyle.

NEW YORK • Jeffrey Webb, the disgraced former Fifa vice-president, has kept up a millionaire lifestyle, quaffing champagne, gambling and partying while under house arrest in the United States awaiting sentence for corruption, according to football's world body.

The 51-year-old husband of American gynaecologist Kendra Gamble-Webb was the first former Fifa official to appear publicly in a New York court last July and quietly cut a plea deal four months later.

The Cayman Islands-British citizen pleaded guilty to racketeering, conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering.

He promised to forfeit more than US$6.7 million (S$9.1 million) in assets and is to be formally sentenced in June.

Last July, he was confined to house arrest in New York on a US$10 million bond. But within weeks he was allowed to move home to Loganville, Georgia, albeit subject to electronic monitoring, home detention and a security detail.

On Wednesday, Fifa's American lawyers complained in a letter to the US Attorney's office that Webb enjoys an "extravagant lifestyle" at a home he may have purchased "with bribes and kickbacks".

"According to reports, he recently hosted an expensive themed birthday party for his wife, replete (sic) with entertainment and gambling tables," the Washington DC law firm wrote, enclosing a Cayman Islands media report.

The story published by the Cayman News Service said he enjoyed a "lavish" Harlem Renaissance-themed party "at his Georgia mansion" to celebrate his wife's 40th birthday, attended by friends and family.

The report included photos purportedly of Webb dressed in a white dinner jacket and bow tie while playing a winning hand at a blackjack table with a huge grin on his face, and giving a speech next to a cake.

In the letter to the US Attorney's office, Fifa's lawyers requested an "immediate" audit of Webb's funds and assets, expressing concern that he may not have fully disclosed them to the court.

"At a minimum, his resources are not being protected for the benefit of his victims," they wrote.

The Fifa action claimed proceeds of a US$3 million bribe requested by Webb, as president of the Cayman Islands Football Association, were paid into bank accounts in Georgia and enabled him to buy "a small mansion and install a swimming pool".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 18, 2016, with the headline 'Webb living it up prior to sentencing'. Print Edition | Subscribe