Fresh corruption claims over Qatar 2022 cup vote
The Sunday Times accused Mohamed bin Hammam of using $1.7million to secure key Asian votes
Qatar’s former FIFA vice-president Mohammad bin Hammam has come under further scrutiny over fresh claims he used his top level contacts and wealth to secure the World Cup for his country.
The British daily newspaper, The Sunday Times, which last week claimed that the former FIFA Executive Committee member made payments totaling $5 million to senior football officials to seal support for Qatar, accused Bin Hammam of using $1.7million to secure key Asian votes.
The report claimed that Bin Hammam arranged government level talks for Thailand's FIFA executive Worawi Makudi to discuss a gas sale “potentially worth tens of millions of dollars to Thailand.”
Bin Hammam brokered two secret meetings with Qatari royals to discuss a major gas deal with a senior aide to Makudi, The Sunday Times, which said it had access to millions of secret documents during its investigation, claimed.
“The exact nature of the deal on the table is unclear, but it came as Thailand sought to save tens of millions of pounds by renegotiating an arrangement with Qatar to purchase 1 million tons of liquefied natural gas each year at a contractual price it considered too high,” the newspaper said.
Makudi was quoted by the Sunday Times as denying that the gas deal came in exchange for supporting Qatar to host the World Cup.
He also denied receiving a personal “concession” from the deal.
The $1.7 million Bin Hammam paid to Asian officials from funds controlled by his private company Kemco were used as he was campaigning for both the Qatar World Cup bid and for his own re-election to the post of president of the Asian Football Confederation.
Meanwhile, the report claimed that Bin Hammam was invited to visit Vladimir Putin to discuss “bilateral relations” in sport between Russia and Qatar a month before their victories in the votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
“Two days later, Qatar's ruling emir also flew to Moscow for talks about joint gas production deals between the two countries,” the newspaper said.
The 2010 vote, which awarded football's biggest tournament to the tiny desert state, is under investigation by FIFA's independent ethics prosecutor.
On Saturday, in a statement released following its Executive Committee's second meeting of the year in Sao Paulo, in which it said that “the executive reaffirmed its position of letting the ethics committee complete its work before making any comment.”
Bin Hammam was formerly on FIFA's executive committee but resigned in 2012, shortly before being banned for life from football administration by FIFA's ethics committee.
The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy denies any wrong-doing and says bin Hammam “played no official or unofficial role” in the bid committee.