CONCACAF: Former leaders committed fraud
PANAMA CITY (AP)
The former president and secretary general of the Confederation of North and Central American and Caribbean Football enriched themselves through fraud during their terms with the organization, said a report by CONCACAF's ethics and integrity committee released Friday.
The committee presented an extensive report on the activities of former President Jack Warner and former Secretary General Chuck Blazer at the CONCACAF congress, also attended by FIFA President Sepp Blatter.
''Our information shows they committed fraud,'' committee member David Anthony Cathcart Simmons said.
Warner resigned as CONCACAF president in June 2011 after Blazer accused him and then-Asian confederation head Mohamed bin Hammam of attempting to bribe Caribbean delegates $40,000 each to vote for bin Hammam in the FIFA presidential election. Blazer resigned as CONCACAF's secretary general in December.
The committee focused its report on Warner, who had headed CONCACAF for almost 30 years, and Blazer's administrative and financial dealings. It found ''fraud'' in the management of a training center built in 1995 to help players in the region train and improve their game, Simmons said.
The center, which was later named in honor of former FIFA president Joao Havelange, was built in the Caribbean city of Port of Spain, capital of Trinidad and Tobago, Warner's home country. At the time, Warner was also a FIFA vice president.
''We found evidence that Warner never mentioned that the land was owned by some of his companies,'' Simmons said. ''It's not owned by CONCACAF.''
Almost $26 million were invested in that project between 1996 and 2006. A good portion of the funds were donated by FIFA.
The committee didn't have access to the training center's finance center and that neither Warner nor Blazer cooperated with the investigation, Simmons said.
Warner is currently Trinidad and Tobago's National Security Minister.
Blazer embezzled at least $21 million by compensating himself with CONCACAF funds without any authorization, Simmons said.
Blazer, the most senior American official at FIFA for 16 years, also bought some apartments with CONCACAF money, he added.
''This is a sad and unfortunate story,'' Simmons said while talking about the report for more than an hour. ''It was an abuse by people who took CONCACAF from hardship to prosperity but who got rich at the expense of the organization.''
CONCACAF appointed the investigative committee after Warner and Blazer resigned.