(CNS): US authorities involved in the FIFA corruption scandal may also be looking into the Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) and the movement and disappearance of cash, at a time when Jeffrey Webb was president and Canover Watson was treasurer, that came from the Zürich-based football HQ to the local association. CNS has learned that at least one formal complaint has been made from the Cayman Islands to the FBI about the missing CIFA cash, which was given to the association by FIFA for its grassroots football programme GOAL but which appears to have helped fund Webb’s luxury home in the US.
During the trial of Canover Watson over the hospital CarePay contract it was revealed that he and Webb were also intermingling CIFA cash with their own business accounts. Question about where around $250,000 that had been given to the local sports association has gone remains officially unanswered.
Although FIFA itself is supposed to be investigating the missing money and the Cayman Islands Anti-Corruption Commission has indicated that it has received complaints, no one has provided any explanations about the unusual cash movements, where transfers were made in and out of the CIFA accounts that then went through various business accounts connected directly and indirectly to Webb and Watson and other local businesses.
It is not clear how far the FBI has delved into the CIFA financing irregularities or what the outcome will be, but since the money that is missing from the CIFA coffers is from FIFA, it is likely to tie in with the US law enforcement’s ongoing wider football probe.
Webb was due to be sentenced last week for the kickbacks and bribes he received while president of both CONCACAF and CIFA, and vice president of FIFA. However, according to US court records, the sentencing hearing was postponed at the request of Webb’s lawyers until November.
CNS has been unable to confirm if this is because he is now in discussions with the FBI over the CIFA cash. Despite pleading guilty to the specific charges brought by US Department of Justice, Webb has made no public admissions the missing FIFA Goal money and has not been charged by either the local or US authorities in relation to it.
Revelations during the CarePay trial suggested that the money went towards paying for his luxury home in Loganville near Atlanta, Georgia, where he currently remains under house arrest on a $10 million bond.
Canover Watson, Webb’s close friend and business partner, is currently serving a jail sentence for his part in the CarePay corruption case. But although Webb has been charged in the same case, he has not yet answered those charges. However, there was incriminating evidence in emails and other correspondence, as well as documents and bank records, which showed that Webb was behind the questionable CIFA cash movements.
The local authorities here say they still plan to try Webb in connection with CarePay and, depending on the outcome of the sentencing in the US, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions will be seeking to extradite him back to his native Cayman to answer those charges.