Cyprus Mail

UK Cypriot ex-football official pleads not guilty in U.S. bribery case

By Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi and Nate Raymond

Costas Takkas, former secretary-general of the Cayman Islands Football Association, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to U.S. charges that he participated in bribery schemes under investigation at world soccer’s governing body, FIFA.

Takkas, who was extradited from Switzerland, pleaded not guilty in federal court in Brooklyn,New York, to charges that include engaging in conspiracies to commit racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering.

He was released on a $1 million bond, said Nellin McIntosh, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, said in an email. Takkas will be under house arrest in Miami, she said.

A lawyer for Takkas did not respond to a request for comment.

Takkas, a British citizen, is among 42 individuals and entities charged as part of a U.S. investigation into more than $200 million in bribes and kickbacks sought by soccer officials for marketing and broadcast rights to tournaments and matches.

He was arrested in Zurich along with six other soccer officials in May 2015 as the U.S. Justice Department unveiled the blockbuster case, which has sent Switzerland-based FIFA and other governing bodies into an unprecedented crisis.

The Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) approved the extradition of Takkas, a former attaché to the president of the Confederation of North and Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), in October.

The FOJ said on Tuesday in a statement that his appeal of the extradition was rejected on March 3.

It said it had turned down a similar appeal from Julio Rocha, former president of the Nicaraguan Football Federation and the last remaining FIFA official in Swiss custody.

“This decision is not yet legally binding as Rocha has 10 days in which to lodge an appeal with the Federal Supreme Court,” the FOJ said.


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