World Cup - Bin Hammam refusal revealed

Fri, 15 Jul 17:08:00 2011

FIFA member Mohamed Bin Hammam 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.

World Cup - Bin Hammam in refusal

The report, by Freeh Group International (FGI) Europe - the private investigative agency owned by ex-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 62-year-old Qatari was the source of the money.

Bin Hammam, a FIFA executive committee member and 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 co-operate with and appear before the FIFA ethics committee."

The report continued: "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 CFU on April 28, 2011, in the amount of 363,557.98 US dollars."

That sum was to cover the cost of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) delegates' travel and accommodation to a special meeting in Trinidad, which Bin Hammam had agreed to pay.

Seven associations from the CFU have told investigators they were offered or accepted cash gifts of 40,000 US dollars 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 learned that cash was being offered there. A witness from a ninth association, Aruba, did not enter the room and expected a subsequent wire transfer of funds.

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

Jack Warner, the FIFA vice-president who was charged along with Bin Hammam, will not face the ethics committee after FIFA dropped the investigation into him following his resignation from football activities.

Neither Warner nor Bin Hammam, nor Minguell and Sylvester, co-operated with the investigation, according to the inquiry team. The Freeh report says witnesses stated Warner told the 25 CFU associations on May 11 that Bin Hammam had provided the cash gifts.

PA Sport

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