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Three Vincentians with ties to FIFA allegedly questioned in Miami

Three Vincentians with ties to FIFA allegedly questioned in Miami

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FIFA, the governing body for world football is continuing its investigations into corruption and according to a source, three Vincentian nationals with ties to FIFA were questioned by authorities during a recent visit to Miami.

Unconfirmed reports are that the three men, linked to the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF), were questioned in relation to a number of local irregularities.

A source close to the SVGFF claims that a report giving the outcome of the questioning will soon be issued.{{more}}

When contacted yesterday, president of the SVGFF Venold Coombs said that he had no knowledge of the alleged questioning.

“I don’t know one thing about that,” Coombs told SEARCHLIGHT, in a dismissive tone by telephone.

In mid-2015, the US Department of Justice indicted several top FIFA executives, amidst claims of widespread corruption.

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) president Michel Platini were later banned for eight years from all football-related activities by FIFA’s ethics committee, while a Swiss criminal investigation into the pair is continuing.

According to BBC, “in May (2015) the US indicted 14 current and former FIFA officials and associates on charges of rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted corruption following a major inquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).”

And in December 2015, 16 more officials were charged following the arrest of two Fifa vice-presidents at the same hotel in Zurich. Former Brazil football federation chief Ricardo Teixeira was among those accused of being “involved in criminal schemes involving well over $200m (£132m) in bribes and kickbacks”.

In 2011, it was alleged that representatives from each Caribbean Football Union (CFU) member state were offered US$40,000 at a meeting in Trinidad and Tobago on May 10 and 11, 2011, in a possible exchange for votes, to support then Asia Football chief Mohamed Bin Hamman, in his bid to unseat long-serving FIFA president Joseph Sepp Blatter.

Then SVGFF president Joseph Delves and general secretary Ian Hypolite were among 16 persons named for interviews by former FBI director Louis Freeh’s and his team.

Hypolite later told SEARCHLIGHT that St Vincent and the Grenadines had not been found guilty of any wrongdoing and both he and Delves denied receiving the money in question.

As a result of the enquiry, all charges against Delves were dropped; however, they may be re-opened if he gets involved in the sport in an official capacity. Hypolite was banned for 15 days and fined 300 Swiss francs. He, however, said at the time that he intended to appeal.(LC)

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