FIFA presidential contender Chung Mong-joon has accused football’s governing body of trying to ”misrepresent” charitable donations he made to relief donations to Pakistan and Haiti.
The South Korean lawmaker on Wednesday hit back at reports that his gifts in 2010 totaling $900,000 could be under scrutiny by investigators working for FIFA.
”If these reports are true, we condemn this as a cynical and unethical effort by FIFA to misrepresent even charitable donations for political manipulation,” Chung said in a statement issued by his charitable foundation.
All FIFA contenders must pass an integrity check by the ethics committee to be accepted as candidates in the Feb. 26 election.
FIFA’s ethics committee does not officially confirm ongoing cases and a request for comment was not immediately answered Wednesday.
On Monday, Chung launched his FIFA election campaign with strong criticism of outgoing president Sepp Blatter, his longtime former colleague on the governing body’s executive committee.
Within two days, he has joined election rival Michel Platini in questioning FIFA’s impartiality.
UEFA confirmed on Sunday that it asked FIFA to investigate if a document sent to German language media trying to discredit Platini came from FIFA headquarters.
Chung was FIFA’s vice president Asia five years ago when he pledged $400,000 for football projects in Pakistan after floods there. The Asian Football Confederation also gave $250,000 to be overseen by the Pakistan Football Federation.
However, the Asian body wrote to the PFF that it sent FIFA ethics investigators details about unspent donations, according to a letter dated June 17 seen by The Associated Press.
The donations ”have not been used for (their) original purpose, i.e. for the construction of a football center in the district of Jhang,” Windsor John, then the AFC’s interim general secretary, wrote.
The Pakistani football body, which has endured bitter in-fighting during recent elections, has told the AFC the project stalled because land is not yet available.
Chung also gave $500,000 for football projects after an earthquake in Haiti, with the money controlled by now-disgraced FIFA vice president Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago.
FIFA previously said in 2012 it would ask Warner to explain how Chung’s money and its own $250,000 donation to Haiti was spent.
Chung lost his FIFA vice presidency to Prince Ali bin al-Hussein in January 2011.
His foundation said Wednesday that his gift-giving was not only connected to football.
”In addition to providing disaster relief assistance to Haiti and Pakistan, Dr. Chung has made numerous personal charitable donations, starting with the 1999 Turkey earthquake relief, Bangladesh disaster relief, China earthquake relief and Myanmar cyclone relief funds,” the statement said.