FIFA prosecutor: Probe already had Qatar evidence

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 11, 2014 at 2:53 pm •  Published: June 11, 2014
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SAO PAULO (AP) — FIFA prosecutor Michael Garcia has already seen most of the evidence published by a British newspapers alleging that Mohamed bin Hammam corruptly bought influence for Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid.

"The vast majority of that material has been available to us for some time," Garcia told FIFA's congress of 209 member countries on Wednesday.

The Sunday Times' reports in the past two weeks revived calls to re-run the December 2010 vote by FIFA's executive committee. The newspaper promises further revelations during the World Cup.

On Monday, Garcia wrapped up his lengthy probe of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting contests.

The deadline prompted reports that Garcia and his team were prepared to ignore further Sunday Times revelations.

"We have gone to the original source, what appears to be the original source, and we are confident we will have access to that," the former U.S. Attorney said.

Judging by further Garcia's comments Wednesday, German football icon Franz Beckenbauer — a FIFA voter in 2010 — could face disciplinary action following reports that he has refused to cooperate with the case.

Garcia is due to deliver his report next month to FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert, who can recommend sanctions.

Allegations implicating FIFA board members in bribery, voting pacts and favor-seeking circled even before the vote. Qatar beat the United States 14-8 in a final round of voting.

The Sunday Times reported it received a massive cache of Qatari official bin Hammam's emails and documents leaked by "a senior FIFA insider."

The newspaper alleged bin Hammam paid $5 million to African football leaders for supporting Qatar's bid and his own FIFA presidential ambitions.

It also claimed bin Hammam set up government talks for a natural gas deal potentially worth tens of millions of dollars for Thailand, home country of his longtime FIFA board ally Worawi Makudi.

Bin Hammam survived a FIFA election bribery scandal when challenging Blatter in 2011, before being expelled the next year for financial wrongdoing while leading the Asian Football Confederation. A forensic audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed extensive details of bin Hammam's deals.