FIFA close Mohamed Bin Hammam bribery case
Thursday, 13 December 2012
December 13 - The FIFA-appointed corruption buster looking into the conduct of Mohamed Bin Hammam, the man who tried to challenge Sepp Blatter for the FIFA Presidency, has admitted no new charges will be brought to support the claim that Bin Hammam bribed Caribbean officials during his doomed election campaign.
FIFA's chief Ethics Committee investigator Michael J Garcia has dropped his inquiry after failing to uncover sufficient new evidence.
It marks a significant development in the case since Bin Hammam, who had his lifetime FIFA ban quashed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in July due to insufficient evidence, has always vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
The CAS overturned an earlier ruling by FIFA's previous Ethics Committee that the 63-year-old Qatari was guilty of paying bribes at a Caribbean Football Union meeting in Trinidad and Tobago in 2011.
At its July hearing, it voted 2-1 in Bin Hammam's favour but went out of its way to say the judgment did not mean he was necessarily innocent, revealing it was "more likely than not" he was the source of monies brought into Trinidad and Tobago and distributed by former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner who resigned from all footballing activities before he was brought to book.
Garcia's decision to close the investigation in to the Caribbean allegations is contained in his confidential report to FIFA.
"With respect to the events at the CFU conference, the investigation uncovered no new material proof beyond the substantial evidence presented during the proceedings that culminated with the CAS decision vacating Mr Bin Hammam's ban," the report said.
But while Bin Hammam will consider himself vindicated, he is by no means out of the woods.
The 63-year-old Qatari remains provisionally suspended over separate allegations of gross financial mismanagement while he was President of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
Garcia will now focus his investigation solely on that case, with sources suggesting that substantial new information has come to light that could incriminate Bin Hammam and keep him out of football.
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