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Associate of former FIFA vice president sentenced to 15 months

By Brendan Pierson

Oct 31 (Reuters) – A former general secretary of the Cayman Islands Football Association was sentenced to 15 months in prison on Tuesday after he pleaded guilty in a money laundering conspiracy, the second person sentenced in a U.S. investigation of bribery involving the world soccer governing body FIFA.

Costas Takkas, 60, a British citizen, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, U.S. prosecutors said. His lawyer, Gordon Mehler, said he hoped Takkas would serve only about 90 days because he was previously detained in Switzerland while awaiting extradition to the United States.

Takkas was the attaché to Jeffrey Webb, a former FIFA vice president and president of CONCACAF, the governing body for soccer in North America, Central America and the Caribbean, according to prosecutors.

Webb pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and other charges in November 2015. He has not yet been sentenced.

Takkas was among more than 40 people and entities charged in a U.S. investigation of the payment of more than $200 million of bribes and kickbacks to soccer officials, in exchange for marketing and broadcast rights.

Prosecutors said Takkas received and transmitted millions of dollars in bribes for Webb, including for the awarding of rights to qualifier matches for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Takkas pleaded guilty in May. Mehler said at the time that Takkas was a “minor figure in a major case.”

Takkas’s sentencing came about a week after Hector Trujillo, a former judge from Guatemala, became the first person sentenced in the criminal case. Chen sentenced Trujillo, who was accused of taking kickbacks from a marketing company in exchange for his help securing media and marketing rights for World Cup qualifying matches, to eight months. (Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Bill Trott)

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