GEORGE TOWN: The difficulties confronting FIFA in trying to police the application of its development grants system has been laid bare by the fraud trial of ex-audit committee member Canover Watson writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Watson has pleaded not guilty to charges concerning misuse of a healthcare payment system in the Cayman Islands.
A court in George Town was told of a money trail which led through companies set up to benefit long-term associate Jeffrey Webb as well as Jack Warner, both former presidents of CONCACAF (see http://tinyurl.com/gt93jyo).
Watson set up his scheme in 2011 when he was treasurer of the Cayman Islands Football Association and Webb was its president. A year later Webb become president of CONCACAF and a FIFA vice-president while Watson was appointed to the audit and compliance committee.
Jurors were told by Patrick Moran, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, how FIFA development cash had helped fund the purchase by Webb of his home in Loganville, Georgia.
Webb is currently living there under house arrest conditions while on bail from a court on Brooklyn over charges, which he denies, concerning the $150m FIFAGate corruption investigation.
Moran said some of the cash diverted into accounts used for personal purposes by Webb had come directly from the Cayman Islands Football Association out of a FIFA grant for a grassroots programme to fund a new pitch.
Critics of FIFA have long complained that one of the organisation’s major failings was its inability to prevent the multi-million development grant system being misused by some individuals.
The trial continues.