‘I have never taken a bribe from FIFA’

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Former FIFA vice-president Jack War­ner is blaming Sepp Blatter for the mess of several high-profile arrests and believes “he should also be indicted”, Trinidad’s Express reports .

Blatter’s re-election for a fifth term is overshadowed by allegations of deep-rooted corruption and the indictment by the United States of high-ranking officials, current and former.

Warner, who is now facing eight char- ges on a US indictment, also insisted he had never taken a bribe and it was an “evi- dential witch-hunt” by US authorities.

“I have nothing more to do with Sepp Blatter and international football and I meant this. People in their wisdom, or lack thereof, will decide on Sepp Blatter’s future; I want no part in that,” he said in an interview with a BBC reporter here on Thurs- day night in Chaguanas.

“Sure, if I am supposed to be a corrupt person, he was my president for 24 of those years; if I am corrupt, I didn’t put my hand in any till for FIFA. I was not FIFA trea­surer; I didn’t write cheques for FIFA so, therefore, it must have been someone who give me the money,” said Warner.

Warner blamed Blatter for putting FIFA in the black hole it had now found itself in and believes he, too, should be among those indicted.

“I don’t agree with the fact that I am corrupt, period, but if I am, as they have tried to make me out to be in the past years now, and I have a reason for saying that he (Blatter) should not be allowed to go free,” he said.

In the 161-page US indictment, Warner’s name features prominently.

Among other things, he is accused of obtaining US$10 million as a bribe for the South Africa World Cup, but he dismissed the suggestion as “ludicrous”, challenging the US to produce the cheque with his name.

“This is an evidential witch-hunt so to speak,” Warner said at his Independent Liberal Party (ILP) office late Thursday night.

In his 21-year stint as Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) presi- dent and later, FIFA vice-president, War- ner has been dogged by allegations he stuffed his pockets with hefty sums of bribe money, a claim he vehemently denies.

“I have never taken a bribe, and I will say it more slowly for you, I… have…never taken…a…bribe from FIFA, or anybody else,” he said.

Was he instrumental in trying to in- fluence Caribbean Football Union (CFU) members in voting for Moham­ed Bin Hammam as the new FIFA presi­dent as the US indictment alleges? Warner is alleged to have distributed envelopes containing US$40,000 to each of the 25 CFU members in Trinidad.

He claimed otherwise.

“I never handed out any money to anybody! Never! Never! I was present at the congress and the dinner and then I left,” Warner said.

Asked about his sons Daryan and Daryll’s alleged involvement in corruption and their suspicious banking transactions in the US, Warner said depositing under (US)$10,000 was no crime and felt they were targeted for another reason.

“What is the crime, is the regularity, but depositing it by itself is not a crime,” he said.

He blamed American bias for pinpointing only Third World countries in their investigation and believed the US felt slighted when they were overlooked for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Making reference to American Michael Garcia, who has been appointed to investigate FIFA, Warner said, “The US is angry, so they appoint an American who has a US bias obviously to investigate the countries and those people who voted; it just does not make sense.”

For the original report go to http://www.trinidadexpress.com/20150529/news/i-have-never-taken-a-bribe-from-fifa

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