PAPEETE: Reynald Temarii, former president of Oceania regional football confederation, has reportedly been detained in Tahiti in connection with a French investigation into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 Football World Cups.
Local media in Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia, have indicated that Temarii was taken in for questioning by three officers sent from Paris. A number of property searches were also undertaken.
Allegations against him include suspicions of “private corruption . . . criminal conspiracy, influence peddling and trading in influence.”
The former French league footballer, was suspended by world federation FIFA shortly before the controversial awards to Russia and Qatar in December 2010 after being caught out by a Sunday Times newspaper ‘sting’.
Temarii had been filmed secretly by reporters posing as lobbyists for a consortium of United States hoping to bring the tournament to the US. He was subsequently banned from all football for a year and fined 10,000 Swiss francs.
He was punished for breaching rules on loyalty and confidentiality by asking for a payment to finance a sports academy.
Temarii subsequently launched legal action to attempt, in vain, to take part in the vote.
This led to a further eight-year ban and termination of his subsequent role of general director of the Tahiti Football Association because he accepted “gifts and other benefits” in the sum of €305,640 to cover his legal costs from Mohamed bin Hammam, then the president of the Asian confederation and a fellow member of the FIFA exco.
Temarii received the money in January 2011 after a meeting with Bin Hammam in November 2010 in Kuala Lumpur.
In April, the French daily Le Monde said a French investigation into the controversial vote had included various officials and executives included former FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke and the ex-UEFA president Michel Platini.
All have denied wrongdoing in this and other issues under investigation in Switzerland.
At the time Temarii told local media that nothing new had been raised and, in any case, he had never accepted money from anyone in Qatar to vote for its World Cup bid.