FIFA found “overwhelming” evidence of bribery

LONDON, (Reuters) – FIFA’s ethics committee found  “comprehensive, convincing and overwhelming” evidence that  Mohamed bin Hammam and Jack Warner were involved in attempted  bribery, according to the preliminary report that led to the  suspension of the two officials.

Trinidadian Warner resigned as a FIFA vice-president and  president of CONCACAF on Monday, prompting the sport’s governing  body to drop an investigation into bribery allegations against  him and leaving “a presumption of innocence”.

Jack Warner

The ethics committee’s report, compiled by Namibian judge  Petrus Damuseb last month and seen by Reuters yesterday, said  there was a “compelling case” that Bin Hammam was engaged in an  act of bribery and that Warner was an accessory.

The ethics committee acted on that evidence by suspending  the pair. Qatari Bin Hammam had by then pulled out of FIFA’s  presidential campaign, leaving Sepp Blatter to win a fourth term  unopposed.

Bin Hammam said yesterday he had done nothing wrong while  Warner, who also denied any wrongdoing, hit out at the way the  document had been leaked to the media.

IFA said it had no comment on the report. The claims centre on a meeting of the Caribbean Football  Union (CFU) in Trinidad in May.

“The comprehensive, convincing and overwhelming evidence  permits to conclude prima facie that the accused (Warner) has  initiated and arranged a special meeting of the CFU member  associations for Mr Bin Hammam,” the report says.

“Furthermore on the occasion of this meeting it seems that  Mr Bin Hammam offered, at least indirectly and under the pledge  of secrecy, to each of the member associations an envelope  containing $40,000.

PRIMARY OPINION

“The FIFA ethics committee is of the primary opinion that  the accused (Warner) had knowledge of the respective payments  and condoned them.”

Mohamed Bin Hammam

The report adds: “The committee is also of the opinion that  the respective money gifts can probably only be explained if  they are associated with the FIFA presidential elections of 1  June 2011.

“Therefore it appears rather compelling to consider the  actions of Mr Bin Hammam constitute prima facie an act of  bribery, or at least an attempt to commit bribery.

“…It appears prima facie impossible, in the opinion of the  FIFA ethics committee, that the accused (Warner) could have  considered the money distributed on the occasion of the special  CFU meeting as legally or ethically proper and without any  connection to the upcoming FIFA presidential election.

“Consequently the accused would at least be considered as an  accessory to the aforementioned violations.”

Bin Hammam issued a statement via a spokesman re-affirming  his denial of any wrongdoing.

“There is nothing I can say more than I deny the allegations  and insist that I have not done anything wrong during the  special congress at Trinidad,” he said.

Warner said in a statement: “I, Jack Warner did not partake  in the distribution of any cash gifts to my members.

“I hope for the good of the game, good sense will prevail or  at least I will continue to live in hope.”

Warner was also angry about what he called the “anonymous  leaks to the media in an investigation that is still ongoing”.

“I can only therefore conclude that this development is part  of an ongoing malicious agenda to destroy the cohesion which has  made the Caribbean Football Union a factor to be reckoned with  in FIFA affairs; and thus diminish CFU’s significance in various  areas of FIFA decision making.”

Around the Web

Comments