x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Fifa widen bribery investigation in Caribbean Football Union

Football's world governing body said it wanted to interview 10 officials from six countries over an alleged election plot involving the former presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam.

ZURICH // Fifa's investigation into a bribery scandal went deeper, as more Caribbean Football Union (CFU) officials were put under investigation over an alleged election plot involving the former presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam.

Football's world governing body said it wanted to interview 10 officials from six countries, as part of an investigation being conducted by the agency of former FBI director Louis Freeh.

"The cases will be submitted to the Fifa Ethics Committee at its next meeting in mid-November," Fifa said in a statement.

Patrick John, the former prime minister of Dominica, is among those under suspicion.

Fifa is also investigating Oliver Camps, the general secretary of Trinidad and Tobago's football federation and an ally of the former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner.

One of the accused is from the Bahamas federation, which was the original whistle-blower that alerted Fifa to US$40,000 (Dh146,920) cash payments being offered during bin Hammam's campaign visit to Trinidad in May.

Lionel Haven was the general secretary of Bahamas football then, when Warner summoned his CFU members to a two-day conference to meet the Qatari candidate.

Bin Hammam denies bribery and he is appealing his life ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Warner resigned from all football activity after 28 years in Fifa's high command to avoid an investigation.

Colin Klass and Horace Burrell, Fifa committee members, also were suspended, for 26 months and six months respectively. Three more elected officials and two CFU staffers also have been banned for between one and 18 months.

Fifa has not specified why they were suspended or what the 10 new cases are about.

Under Fifa's code of ethics, officials are not allowed to accept cash gifts and must report suspected corruption.

Some officials declined to cooperate with Freeh's investigators, who set up several meetings in Miami, the Bahamas and elsewhere in the Caribbean to interview officials.

After the scandal emerged in May, bin Hammam withdrew his election bid three days before the Fifa vote.

Sepp Blatter, the Fifa President, ran unopposed and won a fourth four-year presidential term, with the backing of 186 Fifa members, including most Caribbean islands.

Blatter has pledged an anti-corruption drive to clean up world football and its damaged image.

Officials under investigation: Raymond Guishard, Damien Hughes (both Anguilla), Everton Gonsalves, Derrick Gordon (both Antigua & Barbuda), Lionel Haven (Bahamas, Caribbean Football Union), Patrick John, Philippe White (both Dominica), Vincent Cassell, Tandica Hughes (both Montserrat), Oliver Camps (Trinidad & Tobago).