Amid the massive FIFA scandal, which has expanded to the very top of the global soccer organization, is an allegation of FIFA money illicitly used to fund the general election campaign of current Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamal Persad-Bissessar.
The allegations are made by former FIFA executive Jack Warner, who is currently facing extradition to the United States after being charged with “wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering.” With his back against the wall, Warner has threatened to implicate other wrongdoers from both FIFA and the T&T political sphere.
Warner claims he helped finance the current Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister’s election campaigns when he was chairman and co-leader of the United Nation Congress (UNC) party, one of the ruling coalition parties of the Trinidad and Tobago government.
Kamal Persad-Bissessar is the country’s first female prime minister. She has since denied claims of receiving money from Jack Warner to finance political campaigns.
She said, “I keep saying my hands are clean and my heart is free. I am not concerned. Kamla received no funds from Mr Warner.”
“I deny any FIFA funding was used to the campaign of the UNC and of the People’s Partnership. Any allegations about me, I place those in the hands of my lawyers. Given all these indictments coming down with Mr Warner, we will consider whether we should do an audit of any funds for the UNC in respect to that.”
However, the T&T leader is unsure of whether her party benefited from funding from FIFA. It has since been reported by local Trinidadian news outlets that a month before the national election of May 2010, a company owned by Jack Warner issued five checks of varying sums to an advertising agency affiliated with the current government coalition in Trinidad and Tobago.
“No one would have known whether or not it was FIFA funding. I have cheques in my possession where people made donations to the UNC, but they commingled and ran through some account by the name of JAMAD or something. The party will take up those issues. I know he released some cheques about JAMAD which were deposited to Mr Ross. Mr Ross runs an advertising agency as others and is free to contract and make arrangements with persons and companies to their own benefit and promotion. I am not concerned.”
In 2013, Jack Warner resigned as Chairman of UNC amid corruption allegations and conflict of interest from serving as a FIFA executive.
[Images via 103FM and Stabroek News]