[NEW YORK] A Honduran former Fifa vice-president pleaded not guilty in New York on Wednesday just hours after being extradited from Switzerland over the Fifa corruption scandal rocking world football.
Alfredo Hawit, 64, who has been suspended by Fifa from all football activities, is a former president of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).
He is one of 39 officials and marketing executives accused of soliciting and receiving tens of millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks in a case that has sparked unprecedented crisis at Fifa.
Hawit entered a plea of not guilty through his lawyer. He faces 12 counts of racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to obstruct justice and tamper with witnesses.
The defendant, wearing a suit, stood slightly stooped before Magistrate Judge Robert Levy in the federal court in Brooklyn, listening to proceedings with the help of a court-appointed interpreter.
His lawyer told the court that he suffers from serious health problems which he had difficulty managing in a Swiss prison. Hawit appeared tired and pale.
US prosecutors allege that he accepted and laundered hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes as general secretary of the Honduran soccer federation between 2008 and 2014.