Bin Hammam Posts Letter on Blog Suggesting FIFA Witness Intimidation
August 30, 2011
Mohamed Bin Hammam continued to take the fight to FIFA over his ban by posting a letter on his blog from FIFA Secretary General JeromeValcke suggesting the governing body used intimidation of witnesses to implicate him in a bribery scandal.
Bin Hammam was banned for life from soccer after being found guilty of bribing Caribbean soccer officials with $40, look 000 each during a May meeting in Trinidad for votes in a June 1 presidential election. Prior to the election, he dropped out, and Joseph “Sepp” Blatter won unopposed.
Monday’s blog post is the latest defence in his long denial of bribery. He has called the charges “politically motivated,” and last week announced he filed his appeal.
In the blog post, Bin Hammam produced a July 25 letter (pdf) from FIFA Secretary Valcke that says following the decisions made two days prior by FIFA’s Ethics committee (which include Bin Hammam’s ban), the next phase of the investigation should turn to those who did not report receiving money.
“Based upon the evidence gathered to date, there is reason to believe that people have not been completely candid and forthright in their statements about what transpired during the Trinidad and Tobago conference, specifically about whether they or others were offered or received money,” Valcke wrote in the letter.
FIFA officials couldn’t be reached for comment, though the letter’s contents were reported by CNNthe day after its issuance.
Valcke requested that Caribbean soccer officials come forward with their findings within 48 hours, and if they did, the cooperation would be considered a mitigating factor in whether to punish them for their actions. Anyone who didn’t comply, according to the letter, would be “subject to the full range of sanctions.”
Bin Hammam didn’t say in the blog post how he obtained the letter. He did, however, blast the “Kangaroo Court – FIFA branch,” and expressed outrage at the letter’s contents.
“Valcke, the co-owner of FIFA, issued a letter to the [Caribbean] member associations, threatening them to either admit that they have been bribed or he will open an investigation to find out if I have bribed them or not!!” Bin Hammam wrote in his blog post.
Sixteen of the Caribbean soccer officials who attended the meeting are under investigation for allegedly taking bribe money. In its announcement of the probe against the Caribbean officials, FIFA warned that more cases could follow.