Fifa found 'overwhelming' evidence of bribery
London, June 23, 2011
Fifa's ethics committee found "comprehensive, convincing and overwhelming" evidence that Mohamed bin Hammam and Jack Warner were involved in attempted bribery, according to a preliminary report.
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".
The ethics committee's report, compiled by Namibian judge Petrus Damuseb last month and seen by Reuters on Wednesday, 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 on Wednesday 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.
Fifa 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.
"The Fifa ethics committee is of the primary opinion that the accused (Warner) had knowledge of the respective payments and condoned them."
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". - Reuters
More INTERNATIONAL NEWS Stories
- Saudi demands Qatar shut down Al Jazeera
- Labour stalwart Benn dies aged 88
- Bahrain boat show postponed over development work
- Korean steel maker Posco set for revamp
- Harsh winter hits US consumer sentiment
- Sanctions set as Russia presses on with Crimea takeover
- India inflation at nine-month low
- Missing plane: It's deliberate act says Malaysia PM
- Lost plane 'flown deliberately toward Andamans'
- Gold hits fresh six-month highs
- Iran not open for business, affirms Kerry
- Barclays 'to cut thousands of jobs'
- Jet sent 'pings' after going missing
- China premier warns on economic slowdown
- Gunmen fire on army bus in Cairo, 1 killed
- Lost jet 'may have flown for four hours'
- Gold up as Ukraine, China prompt safe-haven bids
- Search finds no sign of lost plane at suspect spot
- Missing jet may have strayed to Andaman
- Gold hits near 6-month high
- 2 killed in Manhattan building blast
- Cameron pushes for travel bans on Russian MPs
- Indian coastguards join Malaysia jet search
- Confusion as search for lost jet spreads
- Military denies lost plane's flight to Malacca
- Investors monitoring Pimco after internal strife
- N Korea tanker ‘leaves Libya rebel port carrying oil’
- Malaysia plane incident not terror related: Interpol
- Crimea closes air space to commercial flights
- Missing Malaysian plane last seen At Malacca Strait