'Overwhelming evidence' against bin Hammam

A FIFA report reveals compelling evidence that Mohamed bin Hammam and Jack Warner plotted to bribe voters in Trinidad.

    Trinidad, 2010: David Beckham speaks to Jack Warner during a training session for local players [GALLO/GETTY] 

    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.

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

    Bin Hammam said on Wednesday he had done nothing wrong while Warner, who has denied any wrongdoing, was not immediately available for comment. FIFA said it had no comment on the report.

    Kickback in the Caribbean

    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."

    Future proceedings 

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

    "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.

    Though Warner is out of reach of its judicial bodies after resigning, FIFA is seeking to interview him as a witness in the ongoing probes into bin Hammam and two CFU employees alleged to have handed over the payments.

    All deny wrongdoing and are expected to face the ethics panel again next month.

    FIFA has hired investigators led by former FBI director Louis Freeh to interview Warner's allies within the CFU who initially denied being offered cash payments.

    Bin Hammam, the Asian Football Confederation president, has appealed his provisional ban and awaits a separate ruling from FIFA.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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