FIFA asks arrested finance watchdog member for explanation
Canover Watson, one of eight members of FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee and a vice-president of the Caribbean Football Union, has denied the charges and been released on bail in the British overseas territory.
Domenico Scala, head of the committee, said he had asked Watson for details.
“In agreement with the Ethics Committee we have asked Canover Watson whether he can share with the Audit and Compliance Committee any additional information,” said Scala in a statement issued by FIFA. “Once we have more information we will consider appropriate measures.”
The FIFA committee is charged with ensuring the “completeness and reliability of the financial accounting” of world football’s governing body.
Cayman Islands Anti-Corruption Commissioner David Baines, in a statement to local media, said that Watson was suspected of “breach of trust contrary to section 13 of the Cayman Islands Anti-Corruption Law, as well as abuse of public office… and conflict of interest”.
Those allegations refer to Watson’s time at the head of Cayman’s Health Service Authority and follow a police investigation into the introduction of a swipe card system.
Baines also cited “suspicion of money-laundering contrary to section 133 of the Proceeds of Crime Law” in the Watson case.
Watson denied the allegations in a statement to the Cayman Compass newspaper. The newspaper said no charges had yet been filed against Watson who under his bail terms is due to report back to police on Sept. 29.
CONCACAF, the confederation which governs football in North and Central America and the Caribbean, said it was waiting for further details.
“…CONCACAF is awaiting the complete review of the ongoing proceedings,” the confederation said in a statement.
“At CONCACAF, we take great pride of the highest standards of integrity, governance and transparency that lead the organisation.”
The Cayman Islands has become a power centre within the CONCACAF region.
The CONCACAF president is FIFA vice-president Jeffrey Webb, who is also president of the Cayman Islands Football Association which lists Watson as its treasurer.
Webb took over as CONCACAF president after the resignation of Trinidadian Jack Warner, who was at the centre of numerous corruption allegations.
(Writing by Brian Homewood; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)