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

presidential campaign.

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. The Jersey City, New Jersey, native

previously served six years as a special agent.

His investigators’ 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 bid.

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

Wednesday.

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 staying in the

spotlight.

One of Warner’s longtime Caribbean allies, Horace Burrell of

Jamaica, denied on Thursday that his island’s governing body was

involved.

”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

statement.

The scandal broke when Chuck Blazer, the United States’

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 last 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

earlier.

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

World Cup.

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 last

December.