FIFA charges 16 officials
FIFA has announced 16 officials from Caribbean associations have been charged with breaching rules on ethics in the wake of the bribery scandal that saw Mohamed Bin Hammam banned for life.
FIFA's Ethics Committee opened proceedings against the officials following investigations into a special meeting in Trinidad on May 10 and 11 where cash gifts of USD 40,000 were offered or given to associations belonging to the Caribbean Football Union.
One of the officials, Colin Klass from Guyana, a member of the CFU executive committee, has been provisionally suspended from all football activity. The 16 officials will face further investigations carried out by the company owned by former FBI chief Louis Freeh.
FIFA said in a statement: "The FIFA Ethics Committee has today opened ethics proceedings against 16 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) officials in regard to apparent violations of the Code of Ethics connected to the investigation of the cases related to the special meeting of the CFU held in Trinidad & Tobago on May 10 and 11, 2011.
"One of the officials, Colin Klass (Guyana), has been provisionally suspended from taking part in any football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) by the chairman of the Ethics Committee, Claudio Sulser (Switzerland), after consideration of the specific information received on this matter.
"Judge Robert T Torres, a member of the Ethics Committee, has been entrusted by the committee with supervising and directing the investigation. With the approval of the committee, he has engaged Freeh Group International Europe (FGI Europe) and the secretariat of the Ethics Committee to assist the committee with this task. The Ethics Committee will contact the 16 officials to arrange further interviews in connection with these proceedings.
"It is important to note that the investigations are still ongoing, and that it is therefore possible that further proceedings could be opened in the future."
Klass, president of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), orchestrated a campaign by other associations to write letters backing FIFA vice-president Jack Warner after his provisional suspension on bribery charges.
Klass told Freeh investigators in June there was no offer or talk about cash gifts at the Trinidad meeting.
The Freeh report quotes evidence from Bahamas vice-president Fred Lunn, who took a photo of the cash he was given before returning it on the afternoon of May 10, stating that Klass went into the room when the money was being given.
The report states: "Outside the boardroom, Mr Lunn encountered Lionel Haven (a former Bahamas FA board member) and Colin Klass.
"According to Mr Lunn, Mr Klass stated: 'Why is this door locked, are there people getting bribed around here?' The male (CFU official) then allowed Mr Klass to enter the boardroom, which he exited after a few minutes. Mr Lunn noticed that Mr Klass had a smile on his face and was slightly giggling."
Klass told investigators, however, that he did not go into the boardroom.
The report states: "Mr Klass tried to enter the CFU boardroom on the afternoon of May 10, but was told that the room was not for him. Mr Klass remembered that Mr Warner said on May 11 that the only gifts were a laptop computer and projector.
"Mr Klass ... stated that (he) had not been offered or received any cash gift while in Trinidad and Tobago at the meeting."
The 16 officials are as follows:
David Hinds, Mark Bob Forde (Barbados)
Franka Pickering, Aubrey Liburd (British Virgin Islands)
David Frederick (Cayman Islands)
Osiris Guzman, Felix Ledesma (Dominican Republic)
Colin Klass, Noel Adonis (Guyana)
Yves Jean-Bart (Haiti)
Anthony Johnson (St Kitts and Nevis)
Patrick Mathurin (St Lucia)
Joseph Delves, Ian Hypolite (St Vincent and the Grenadines)
Richard Groden (Trinidad and Tobago)
Hillaren Frederick (US Virgin Islands)