Ex-AFC official faces charges over Hammam probe

September 19, 2012

The former Asian Football Confederation finance director and her husband face charges for stealing a file related to a corruption probe into the AFC's suspended president Mohamed bin Hammam.

Kong Lee Toong, husband of Amelia Gan, pleaded not guilty when he appeared before a magistrate in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, charged with stealing the file from the AFC office on July 31.

Gan, who is outside Malaysia, is expected to be charged when she returns. A conviction carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

Prosecutor Kee Wei Lon said the file contained documents related to bin Hammam's personal banking transactions.

AFC legal officer Mohamad Bustaman Abdullah said the ''file was taken out from AFC office and passed on to a third party.'' He declined to give further details, citing police investigations.

Bin Hammam, who is fighting allegations of financial malfeasance and corruption, has insisted the claims were politically motivated.

In a letter last month to 20 Asian associations, bin Hammam confirmed he made payments to officials and others but said they came out of his own bank accounts and were personal. He claimed the payments, including to acting AFC president Zhang Jilong, were driven by a desire to help those in need.

It was Zhang who ordered an audit that accused bin Hammam of receiving millions of dollars from individuals linked to AFC contracts and spending tens of thousands on items such as a honeymoon and cash payments for his family.

Bin Hammam had a lifetime ban from the sport overturned in court in July. That ban was initially imposed after FIFA found he had bribed Caribbean voters when he challenged Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency.