Bin Hammam Lashes Out at FIFA Probe of AFC Allegations
August 15, 2012
Mohamed Bin Hammam (Getty)
(WFI) Former FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam has pledged to clear his name after the organization’s new-look ethics panel announced a probe of fresh corruption allegations against him.
“My legal team has filed an immediate response to the actions of the AFC and FIFA in relation to my latest politically motivated ban,” Bin Hammam said.
“I will announce further steps very shortly to challenge this clear abuse of power and process at the hand of FIFA."
The Qatari’s comments came after Michael J. Garcia, chairman of the investigatory chamber of FIFA’s ethics committee, announced on Friday that allegations of financial wrongdoing while the Qatari headed the Asian Football Confederation would be investigated.
Garcia is also examining allegations that Bin Hammam made bribery payments to Caribbean Football Union members in May 2011. He was handed a lifetime ban by FIFA’s previous ethics committee last summer. But last month, the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned his ban for corruption citing insufficient evidence.
But Garcia believes the allegations are worthy of further scrutiny – a CAS statement said that it had not found Bin Hammam innocent, only that it was a situation of “case not proven” because of a lack of evidence.
The CAS verdict added that it was "more likely than not" that Bin Hammam was the source of the $40,000 cash payments made to 25 Caribbean Football Union members at the meeting in Trinidad and Tobago.
The new allegations of corruption were leveled against Bin Hammam last month. The AFC opened a disciplinary case against the 63-year-old and provisionally suspended him from football after an internal audit alleged violations of the football body's statutes, disciplinary code and code of ethics.
A PwC report commissioned by the AFC alleges Bin Hammam enriched himself, family and friends from mismanagement of the confederation's finances.
In a letter to AFC member associations, Bin Hammam reportedly clarified the payments, claiming they came out of his own bank accounts and were given to help those in need including acting Asian football boss Zhang Jilong.
"Jilong was one of those who came to me for financial support and I helped him with a significant amount from my personal account," Bin Hammam wrote, according to an AP report. "I will leave him to explain the circumstances of this to you if he wishes."
Garcia has also not ruled out investigating how the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were awarded.
The bidding race for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups was hit by a string of bribery scandals ahead of the vote 18 months ago when Russia and Qatar were appointed hosts.
FIFA's new Independent Governance Committee headed by Mark Pieth warned FIFA that those scandals were “insufficiently investigated.”
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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