Blake and Watson charged in CIFA case

| 08/08/2019
Cayman News Service
Canover Watson exits the courthouse after being found guilty of corruption in the CarePay case

(CNS) After what officials said was “a complex and protracted investigation” by the Anti-Corruption Commission, former Cayman Islands Football Association executives Bruce Blake and Canover Watson have been charged with a list of offences under various laws in relation to financial crimes at CIFA. The two men were arrested more than two years ago in relation to the inquiry. Having now been charged, they have been bailed to appear in court on 20 August.

Blake, a former CIFA vice president and at one point a lawyer with a leading local offshore firm, is facing charges of secret commissions contrary to the Anti-Corruption Law, acquiring or retaining criminal property (aka money laundering) contrary to the proceeds of crime law, and false accounting contrary to the Penal Code.

Canover Watson, a former CIFA treasurer, is also facing charges of secret commissions, money laundering and false accounting. Watson was released on licence from HMP Northward last year after serving two years of a seven-year sentence for his part in the corruption scandal at the Health Services Authority CarePay scandal.

Cayman News Service
Bruce Blake (courtesy Jamaica Gleaner)

No other details of the allegations have been revealed but there have been numerous allegations floating around regarding financial irregularities at CIFA since the former president, Jeff Webb, was arrested in Switzerland in May 2015 in relation to the wider FIFA corruption scandal. Webb pleaded guilty in December 2015 to various racketeering offences and has been on conditional bail at his home in Georgia in the US ever since. His sentence has been postponed nine times.

Webb is due to be sentenced in September but it is now extremely unlikely he will be jailed as he has paid back millions of dollars in connection with his crimes. However, once he is sentenced and the case against him closed in the US, officials here will be free to extradite him. Webb was charged, but never tried, in the CarePay scandal.

While Webb’s name has been raised in connection with the CIFA scandal, it is not clear if the ACC is seeking to arrest or charge Webb in relation to their investigations.

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Category: Crime

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