By Simon Evans
MIAMI, June 9 (Reuters) – The Suriname Football Association President received a gift of $40,000 after a meeting with suspended Asian Football Confederation chief Mohamed Bin Hammam and was told the cash came from the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), he said on Thursday.
FIFA is investigating events surrounding the meeting after allegations were made of bribery, Trinidadian Jack Warner, president of the CFU and CONCACAF, has been suspended by FIFA’s ethics committee along with Bin Hammam, pending a full investigation.
The Puerto Rican Football Federation has also confirmed receiving money and, like Suriname, has offered to give it back.
Suriname FA president Louis Giskus, who is co-operating with FIFA’s inquiry, told Reuters that he received gifts of a projector and a laptop along with a brown envelope containing $40,000.
«We have told FIFA about the gifts. The money is in our bank account. After we received the gifts, we decided not to use the gifts and we will keep the money in the bank until FIFA give us indication what to do,» he said.
«We were told that the projector and the laptop were from CONCACAF and the money was from the CFU,» Giskus said.
He said the gifts were distributed by CFU official Jason Sylvester who has also been suspended by FIFA.
«I asked Jason Sylvester what the money was for and he said it was for the development of football in Suriname».
Giskus said his organisation was fully co-operating with FIFA’s investigation and would hand the money over to FIFA if asked.
He said at no stage was it suggested the money came from Bin Hammam.
«In that case we certainly wouldn’t have accepted that. After we heard about the things that happened we decided we would not use the gifts,» he said.
«We are a small association but we have high principles about these things.»
Giskus said the invitation to the meeting, from Warner, stated that all transport and accommodation costs would be covered by the CFU, although later Bin Hammam said in a statement that he covered the expenses of the meeting.
«Warner wrote in the invitation that all the expenses would be paid by CFU,» he said. «My conclusion is that he was lying. If you say that all expenses paid by CFU and later we hear that Mr Bin Hammam says he paid all the expenses then Mr Warner was lying.
Warner was not immediately available for comment.
Asked what he thought of the gift when it was offered, Giskus said he believed it was likely linked to the good financial performance of the regional body.
«Two weeks before we had the annual meeting of CFU and were told of the good financial results in 2010, we thought it was maybe because of the good results they give us gifts,» he said.
«In January 2011 we got a letter from FIFA saying they decided to give all associations $300,000 because of the good results in the World Cup,» he added.
While Suriname and Puerto Rico have confirmed receiving the cash and the Bahamas has stated it turned down the offer of money, others including the federations from Barbados and Jamaica have denied receiving or being offered any such payments.
(Edited by Ed Osmond, To query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org)