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(Adds Bin Hammam appeal in second paragraph.)
Nov. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Soccer’s governing body says money recovered as part of the probe into gifts given by banned FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam to Caribbean voters will be used on development projects.
Bin Hammam allegedly offered $40,000 each to members of the Caribbean Football Union at a special meeting in Trinidad on 10 May, a month before he was due to challenge incumbent Sepp Blatter for the soccer body’s presidency. He this week submitted an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against a life ban from soccer. He denies offering any money, saying the charges are politically motivated.
FIFA banned 11 Caribbean officials, reprimanded five more and warned six following an enquiry led by former U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation director Louis Freeh. Six others, including former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, couldn’t be sanctioned because they resigned before the enquiry was complete. FIFA has declined to say how much money has been returned. FIFA hasn’t published reasons why the sentences for the officials differ.
“The money will be used for football development programs,” FIFA said in an e-mail. “The ethics committee is currently examining all the existing possibilities.”
The governing body has announced plans to update its rules and regulations after Bin Hammam’s ban, and investigations into other officials who allegedly offered to trade their votes in the competition to stage the World Cups in 2018 and 2022 for money when approached in an undercover newspaper report.
Blatter has said the reform program will be complete by June 2013 at the latest. Yesterday it was announced that Swiss anti-corruption expert Mark Pieth would be responsible for an 18-member team that will oversee the changes.
Pieth is a professor of criminal law at Basel University and chairman of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions. He was chosen by the United Nations in 2004 to serve on an independent inquiry team examining alleged corruption in the Iraqi oil-for-food program.
FIFA’s board next meets in Tokyo on Dec. 17 when the governing body will release a document listing the names of officials said to have taken payments for contracts from a failed marketing company a decade ago.
--Editor: Christopher Elser
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