Jack Warner, the embattled former Fifa vice-president at the centre of corruption charges, faces a new slew of allegations as more details emerge of payments that were reportedly diverted to bank accounts he controlled.
In papers drawn up by US investigators and seen by the BBC, Warner is accused of diverting US$750,000 in emergency funds donated by Fifa and the Korean Football Association intended for victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
The BBC reports US investigators alleging the money went to accounts controlled by Warner, at “Warner’s direction” for his “personal use”.
Warner was arrested last month in Trinidad at the request of US authorities, and faces extradition on charges of corruption and money laundering.
In 2012, the Trinidad & Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) claimed that funds donated for Haiti were paid into a bank account controlled by Warner. It said the money from Fifa ($250,000) and the South Korean FA ($500,000) was paid into a TTFF account it claimed only Warner – a special adviser to the federation – controlled.
At the time, Warner said the allegations were a conspiracy: “I have nothing to answer to anybody. Who wants to make allegations, make allegations.” Fifa froze its funding to the TTFF.
Warner has continued to deny any wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, Frank Lowy, president of Football Federation Australia (FFA), has said he would welcome an inquiry into a AU$500,000 payment made as part of Australia’s failed bid to host the 2022 World Cup bid. That money, too, is alleged to have ended up in a bank account belonging to Warner.
In an interview with Sky News Australia, Lowy said: “I have made no offer to him. I have not negotiated with him.
“We were trying to influence the whole world. He was one of those people that we were hoping were going to vote for us.
“But I think there were a lot of other countries that thought so also because he made promises to them. But he made no promise to me.”
He said the AU$500,000 payment – to fund a feasibility study to develop a centre of excellence in Trinidad & Tobago – was paid out to create “goodwill” for Australia.
Lowy insisted the country had run a clean bid but he now realised “we never stood a chance” of hosting the tournament, which went to Qatar. Commenting on the reasons for Qatar’s successful bid, Lowy noted the 50-degree temperatures and asked: “How would you think it was done?”
He called on Sepp Blatter, Fifa’s retiring president, to step down soon: “The quicker the change comes, the better.”
In the meantime, Australia has shelved its bid, announced a month ago, to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup. “In the current volatile environment, FFA can give no consideration to bidding for any Fifa tournament,” the FFA said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Fifa’s problems are deep-rooted and tangled in a culture that has developed over decades. Until such time that the existing governance model is overhauled, it’s hard to imagine the circumstances in which FFA would put Australia forward as a bidding nation.”
The fresh allegations came in the wake of claims that a separate US$10m payment connected to South Africa’s bid for the 2010 World Cup – said by South African officials to be a contribution to fund a legacy programme in the Caribbean, and alleged by US investigators to be a bribe to Warner – was administered by Fifa.
A letter from Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke to the South African department of foreign affairs, published in the South African Sunday Times, stated: “We agreed that the fund shall be transferred to the Fifa account in Zurich for Fifa to administer it. The account details will be communicated in due course.”
A Fifa spokeswoman insisted there was “never any intention” to administer the fund and that it merely “facilitated” a reallocation of funds.
Three months later, a follow-up email from Valcke to deputy finance minister Jabu Moleketi asked when South Africa would transfer the money and stated the arrangement had been agreed in talks between Fifa president Sepp Blatter and South Africa’s president Thabo Mbeki.
Three days later, World Cup organising committee chief executive Danny Jordaan replied to Valcke stating that Fifa should withhold US$10m from its contribution to the local organising committee and use those funds for the legacy programme.
The US department of justice indictment of 18 people, including 13 Fifa executives, on corruption charges says this money was paid to Warner and his deputy, Chuck Blazer, in return for them voting for the 2010 World Cup to be played in South Africa.
The South African government has insisted it never agreed to pay any World Cup bribes. The Guardian