FIFA hires ex-FBI boss agency for bribery probe
FIFA has hired former FBI director Louis Freeh’s investigations
agency to gather evidence following allegations that Mohamed bin
Hammam and Jack Warner offered $40,000 bribes to voters during its
FIFA said Friday that Freeh Group International Europe was
”mandated” to help its ethics committee, which will summon the
two suspended senior officials to a full inquiry expected to be
held next month.
”This company will work under the direct supervision and
responsibility of Judge Robert T. Torres, member of the ethics
committee who has been entrusted by the committee with supervising
and directing the investigation,” FIFA said in a statement.
Freeh founded FGI after leading the Federal Bureau of
Investigation from 1993-2001. Freeh previously served six years as
a special agent.
The work will include interviewing Caribbean Football Union
officials who allegedly were offered cash bribes at a meeting in
Warner’s native Trinidad to back bin Hammam’s FIFA presidential
Bin Hammam withdraw his candidacy last Sunday, hours before
FIFA’s ethics panel provisionally suspended him and FIFA vice
president Warner pending the full hearing.
They deny arranging bribes, and the Qatari challenger alleged
that supporters of FIFA President Sepp Blatter conspired to remove
him from the election contest.
Blatter, who was cleared by the ethics panel of turning a blind
eye to intended corruption, was re-elected unopposed on
The ongoing bribery investigation is set to ensure that
Blatter’s fourth and final four-year term begins with the worst
corruption scandal in FIFA’s 107-year history in the spotlight.
One of Warner’s longtime Caribbean allies, Horace Burrell of
Jamaica, denied on Thursday that his island’s governing body was
”Let me state categorically that the (Jamaica federation) was
not offered, neither received any funds prior to, during nor after
the CFU meeting held May 10-11 in Trinidad,” Burrell said in a
The scandal broke when Chuck Blazer, the U.S. representative on
FIFA’s ruling panel, delivered a file of evidence including witness
statements from four CFU member countries.
Blazer told The Associated Press this week that ”much more
evidence” would emerge from Caribbean officials, who were advised
in Zurich to hand over the money to FIFA and assist the inquiry, or
face being placed under suspicion.
Officials from Puerto Rico arrived in Switzerland on Sunday for
the FIFA Congress bearing a check for $40,000.
Warner returned to Trinidad late Thursday, pledging to continue
hitting FIFA with the ”football tsunami” he promised one week
The Trinidad & Tobago government minister told reporters
that he would reveal details of an email exchange with Blatter when
he meets supporters at a rally on Sunday.
”The contents of the email are crystal clear as to what
transpired,” he said.
Warner has already published private correspondence to embarrass
FIFA, where he is a 28 year-veteran of its executive committee.
In an email, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke wrote to
Warner last month that Qatar ”bought” hosting rights for the 2022
Valcke later explained that he referred only to Qatar’s
financial muscle and had not implied wrongdoing by the emirate’s
bid, which defeated the U.S. in a final round of voting in