On July 26, officials from the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) had been given 48 hours to come forward with information about a May 9 and 10 meeting at a hotel in Port of Spain, Trinidad, when Mohamed Bin Hammam, a one-time challenger to FIFA’s president Sepp Blatter, allegedly offered regional officials envelopes stuffed with $40,000.
One of FIFA’s vice presidents, Trinidad and Tobago government minister, Jack Warner, quit the sport after being suspended pending the investigation. Warner reportedly arranged Bin Hammam’s meeting with the CFU and the two men were first suspended on May 29.
FIFA later dropped its case against Warner, saying “the presumption of innocence is maintained,” following his withdrawal from the sport. Warner was also head of CONCACAF, the regional body.
The inquiry has been led by former US Federal Bureau of Investigation director Louis Freeh.
FIFA told the officials they would face less severe punishment should they come forward with information on the case. The Caribbean authorities may get lifetime bans if they were found to be withholding information about the case. Some of the attendees have changed their stories about what happened, Bloomberg News reported.
Cuba was the only member of the 25-strong CFU that did not send a delegate to the Trinidad meeting where Bin Hammam pitched for votes. Officials from nine countries told investigators they had accepted or were offered envelopes full of cash. The remaining 15 have denied any knowledge of the incident or refused to take part in the probe.
FIFA’s ethics committee will also hear a case against Lisle Austin, a Barbados official, who briefly replaced Warner as head of CONCACAF. He is alleged to have broken FIFA statutes concerning taking legal action in civil courts. All disputes must be settled by governing bodies or the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, according to FIFA.