FIFA pros­e­cu­tors want Bin Ham­mam for­mer aide banned

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

FIFA ethics pros­e­cu­tors have asked for a life ban for a for­mer aide to Mo­hamed bin Ham­mam in a bribery in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The FIFA ethics com­mit­tee said yes­ter­day its in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Na­jeeb Chi­rakal “fo­cused mainly on his in­volve­ment in pay­ments to sev­eral foot­ball of­fi­cials.”

It rec­om­mended that FIFA ethics judges im­pose the life ban for charges in­clud­ing bribery and cor­rup­tion, of­fer­ing gifts, con­flicts of in­ter­est and fail­ing to co­op­er­ate with in­ves­ti­ga­tors. Chi­rakal was based in Qatar and worked for Bin Ham­mam, a one-time FIFA power­bro­ker and Asian Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent who was banned for life by FIFA in 2012.

It is un­clear when FIFA ethics judges will rule on the case. Ver­dicts typ­i­cally take at least sev­eral weeks. Chi­rakal was pre­vi­ously iden­ti­fied - in emails pub­lished by Bri­tish news­pa­per The Sun­day Times and a re­port by Price­wa­ter­house Coop­ers into AFC fi­nances - as a key link for African and Asian of­fi­cials seek­ing cash pay­ments from Bin Ham­mam.

In Oc­to­ber 2012, Chi­rakal was pro­vi­sion­ally sus­pended by the FIFA ethics court for fail­ing to co­op­er­ate with its in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Bin Ham­mam. Then, the aide had been asked “to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion and doc­u­ments, and failed to re­spond.”

The FIFA ethics com­mit­tee ex­pelled Bin Ham­mam for a se­cond time in De­cem­ber 2012 over fi­nan­cial mis­man­age­ment of the AFC, which was de­tailed in a leaked foren­sic au­dit by ac­coun­tancy firm PwC.

That re­port linked Chi­rakal and other pres­i­den­tial staffers to cor­re­spon­dence with an African of­fi­cial, Amadou Diallo, seek­ing money from Bin Ham­mam, who was in­de­pen­dently wealthy in the con­struc­tion trade. Diallo was linked in 2011 to un­proven claims over al­leged pay­ments tied to Qatar’s suc­cess­ful bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

Bin Ham­mam was first banned by FIFA in 2011 over cash pay­ments to Caribbean vot­ers when he was a FIFA pres­i­den­tial can­di­date against Sepp Blat­ter. That life ban was over­turned by the Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport, but the Qatari of­fi­cial was blocked from re­turn­ing to duty by the se­cond ethics case. — AP

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