GENEVA (AP) — FIFA's controversial choice of Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup is again under scrutiny amid calls to re-run the vote.
British newspaper The Sunday Times has reported that Mohamed bin Hammam, the Qatari former FIFA executive committee member, paid $5 million in patronage, gifts and legal fees to senior football officials.
The newspaper says it received "hundreds of millions" of emails and documents from a "senior FIFA insider."
They detail conversations about payments and money transfers from accounts controlled by Bin Hammam, his family and Doha-based businesses.
WHAT ARE THE NEW ALLEGATIONS?
That Mohamed bin Hammam systematically paid millions of dollars to some colleagues on FIFA's ruling executive committee and officials across Africa.
A total of $1.6 million to disgraced former FIFA vice president Jack Warner includes $450,000 before the December 2010 vote, when FIFA's board chose Qatar despite health risks for players and fans posed by the desert heat. As CONCACAF president, Warner should have supported his region's candidate, the United States, which Qatar beat 14-8 in the final round.
Bin Hammam also paid 305,000 euros ($415,000) toward the legal case of Reynald Temarii, a FIFA vice president who was barred from voting after a Sunday Times cash-for-votes report in October 2010.
Temarii's appeal to FIFA blocked his Oceania confederation deputy voting for Qatar's rival Australia.
IS THIS A SMOKING GUN?
Not necessarily. The stories do not link FIFA board members directly asking for or getting cash and favors for their World Cup votes.
The emails also do not appear to connect Qatar's World Cup bid officials directly with corruption attempts.
Though the Ivory Coast federation then led by FIFA board member Jacques Anouma — who pledged to "push very hard the bid of Qatar" — received payments of $400,000 in June 2009 and October 2010, these were FIFA funds through its "Goal" development program chaired by Bin Hammam.
Bin Hammam's long-term nurturing of African officials, enabled by Goal work, can also be seen in the context of his FIFA presidential ambitions.
African federation presidents did not have a World Cup vote, but do elect the FIFA president.
Still, the reports show how Bin Hammam's status in FIFA politics, and potential to be its next leader, helped Qatar's World Cup candidacy.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
The Sunday Times says its evidence has gone to Michael Garcia, the former U.S. Attorney in New York appointed by FIFA's executive committee in July 2012 as independent ethics prosecutor. The 2018-2022 World Cup bidding topped his agenda.
Garcia and his team have toured the world quizzing staffers from bid candidates. He is scheduled to meet Qatari officials from Monday in Oman.