KUALA LUMPUR: The spectre of Mohamed Bin Hammam has returned to haunt the Asian Football Confederation with Alex Soosay suspended from his role as general secretary pending an inquiry into cover-up allegations.

A brief statement from AFC headquarters in Kuala Lumpur said that deputy general secretary Windsor John would take over Soosay’s role on an interim basis.

Last month, ahead of AFC Congress, allegations were published by the Malay Mail that Soosay had sought the tampering or hiding of certain documents bearing his name or signature.

The documents were linked to the investigation about the misuse of AFC funds by its former president Mohamed Bin Hammam. It had been claimed by a police report back in August, 2012, that Bin Hammam had embezzled some $10m.

This followed a damning report about AFC finances produced by PricewaterhouseCooper.

Police handed the case over to the Malaysian attorney-general who decided not to take further action.

Soosay, when approached about the allegations, denied knowledge or culpability.

He said: “If there was something, wouldn’t they have investigated me? This is just a smear (campaign) against me; there is no such thing.

“This whole thing is being taken out of context . . . there were no cash advancements … everything [was] documented. PwC has given their report, FIFA has investigated, everything is settled and the case closed. There is no such thing.”

The cover-up allegations against Soosay were made by the then AFC finance director Bryan Kuan Wee Hoong.

He said, in a video recorded interview: “When it was confirmed PwC was going to do the investigation, I had a separate conversation with him [Soosay] and he told me clearly that anything related to him, don’t give to them.”

Kuan quoted James Johnson, the then AFC director member associations relations and development, as telling him that Soosay had made a similar request to Johnson.

Kuan further claimed that Soosay asked him: “Protect me . . . Can you tamper or hide any documents related to me?”

One of the noted failures of the AFC since Bahraini Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa succeeded Bin Hammam as president two years ago has been in not following through on the PwC report.

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