Soccer

Report: Bin Hammam did cheat

2011-06-22 17:02
Mohamed bin Hammam (File)

London - Mohamed bin Hammam tried to bribe officials in his campaign to oust Sepp Blatter as FIFA president, according to a secret report by the organisation's ethics committee obtained by Britain's Press Association.

There was "comprehensive, convincing and overwhelming" evidence against Bin Hammam, the head of the Asian Football Confederation, and former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner was "an accessory to corruption", the report said.

FIFA announced on Monday that Warner had resigned as FIFA vice president and quit all football-related activities.

The governing body also said it had dropped all investigations into the Trinidadian and that "the presumption of innocence is maintained".

But the report of the ethics committee, which provisionally suspended Warner and Bin Hammam on May 29, said there was "prima facie" evidence that bribes had been paid to officials to support Bin Hammam's campaign for the FIFA presidency,

The report states that Warner facilitated the bribes.

Warner, who was highly influential as head of the Caribbean, North and Central American Federation (CONCACAF), and Bin Hammam were suspended last month by FIFA pending a full inquiry.

Bin Hammam withdrew as a candidate against Blatter on the morning of his ethics committee hearing on May 29. Both Bin Hammam and Warner have consistently denied any wrongdoing.

The report said there was "compelling" evidence Bin Hammam and Warner arranged a special meeting of the 25 members of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) on May 10-11 in Trinidad and that, with their knowledge, cash gifts were handed over.

Statements from witnesses, described as "credible" in the ethics committee report, said CFU members were handed brown envelopes each containing $40 000.

One of the witnesses, Fred Lunn from the Bahamas, photographed the cash before returning it.

The ethics committee report said: "On the occasion of this meeting it seems Mr Bin Hammam offered, at least indirectly and under the pledge of secrecy, to each of the member associations an envelope containing US $40 000.

"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... 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 said in a statement: "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."

Following Bin Hammam's withdrawal, Blatter was re-elected unopposed for a fourth term as FIFA president.

Read more on:    fifa scandal  |  mohamed bin hammam
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