PORT OF SPAIN: The Haiti earthquake cash scandal is returning to haunt former FIFA vice-presiudent Jack Warner
The Trinidadian politician has always denied claims dating back four yars that he moved funds intended for disaster victims into his own bank accounts.
Now the BBC, which has seen papers drawn up by United States authorities, has said Warner is accused of diverting US$750,000 in emergency funds donated by FIFA and the South Korean Football Association.
US investigators are alleging the money went to accounts controlled by Warner, at “Warner’s direction” for his “personal use”. Warner is among 14 men under US pursuit but is contesting extradition and denies all wrongdoing.
In 2012, the Trinidad & Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) claimed that funds donated for Haiti ($250,000 from FIFA and $500,000 from South Korea) was diverted into an account controlled by Warner.
At the time, Warner proclaimed his innocence: “I have nothing to answer to anybody. Who wants to make allegations, make allegations.”
Meanwhile, Frank Lowy, president of Football Federation Australia (FFA), has said he would welcome an investigation into a A$500,000 made by Australia’s doomed 2022 World Cup bid team, that also also allegedly ended up in one of Warner’s accounts.
In an interview with Sky News Australia, Lowy said: “I have made no offer to him. I have not negotiated with him.
“We were trying to influence the whole world. He was one of those people that we were hoping were going to vote for us.
“But I think there were a lot of other countries that thought so also because he made promises to them. But he made no promise to me.”
He said the payment – intended to develop a centre of excellence in Trinidad & Tobago – was paid out to create “goodwill” for Australia.
Lowy insisted the country had notghing to hide but he admitted “we never stood a chance” of hosting the tournament, which was ultimately awarded to Qatar. Asked why he thought Qartar won the bid, he replied: “How would you think it was done?”
Australia has dropped a bid to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
“In the current volatile environment, FFA can give no consideration to bidding for any FIFA tournament,” the FFA said in a statement on Tuesday.
“FIFA’s problems are deep-rooted and tangled in a culture that has developed over decades. Until such time that the existing governance model is overhauled, it’s hard to imagine the circumstances in which FFA would put Australia forward as a bidding nation.”