x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Bin Hamman gives the silent treatment

The Qatari refuses to provide documents.

Mohamed bin Hammam, the suspended Fifa executive committee member, refused to speak to investigators or provide his bank records during the probe into allegations he paid cash gifts to Caribbean football officials, according to a report to Fifa's ethics committee.

The report, by Freeh Group International Europe, the private investigative agency owned by the former FBI chief Louis Freeh, concludes that while there is "no direct evidence" linking bin Hammam to the offer or payment of cash, there is "compelling circumstantial evidence" that the Qatari was the source of the money.

Bin Hammam, 62, president of the Asian Football Confederation, has been suspended since May 29 on charges of bribery. He denies any wrongdoing.

The Freeh report, a copy of which has been seen by The Press Association, states: "Through his legal counsel, Mr bin Hammam refused to speak with investigative counsel working for the Fifa ethics committee, but expressed his willingness to cooperate with and appear before the Fifa ethics committee.

"Also through his legal counsel, Mr bin Hammam provided some documents, but refused to provide his banking records for review and said that requested telephone records do not exist.

"The lone banking record provided was proof of a wire transfer from Mr bin Hammam to the [Caribbean Football Union] (CFU) on April 28, 2011, in the amount of US$363,557.98 (Dh1.35 million).

That sum was to cover the cost of the CFU delegates' travel and accommodation to a special meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad, which Bin Hammam had agreed to pay.

Seven associations from the CFU have told investigators that they were offered or accepted cash gifts of $40,000 in a room in the Hyatt Regency hotel on May 10 after bin Hammam had made a presentation about his campaign to be Fifa president.

A witness from an eighth association said he avoided entering the room once he learnt that cash was being offered there. A witness from a ninth association, Aruba, did not enter the room and expected a wire transfer of funds.

The Freeh report will be the basis for the Fifa ethics committee hearing next week involving bin Hammam and two officials from the CFU, Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester.