One of the delegates invited to the meeting at the centre of FIFA bribery investigations has confirmed that he was given a brown envelope containing a “gift” of $40,000 (€28,000) in cash.
Louis Giskus, the president of the Surinam FA, said he was handed the money, in $100 bills, at a special meeting of the Caribbean Football Union in Trinidad on May 10.
Giskus insists however that he was told it was a gift from the CFU to spend on development projects.
FIFA have suspended vice-president Jack Warner, fellow FIFA member Mohamed Bin Hammam and two CFU officials, Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester, while the world governing body investigate allegations that they paid or offered bribes to officials of the 25 associations that make up the CFU.
Giskus said: “We went up to a room and were given $40,000 in a brown envelope with the name of Surinam on it.
“We were surprised, and asked who the gift was from. Mr Jason Sylvester told us that it was a gift from the CFU for developing football in Surinam.
“We asked once more and were told it was for developing football in our country and that’s why we accepted it.
“I asked if we would get problems with Customs leaving Port of Spain with that amount of money and he [Sylvester] told us there would be no problems.
“I wrote his mobile number on the envelope so that if there were any problems at the airport we could call it.”
Giskus said he returned to Surinam that day – missing a meeting the following day when, according to an affidavit submitted to FIFA, association officials were told by Warner that the cash was a gift from Bin Hammam.
Warner is the longest-serving member of FIFA’s executive committee and a senior government minister in Trinidad.
Bin Hammam travelled to Trinidad while campaigning to be FIFA president – he later withdrew from the contest.
An affidavit by the Bahamas FA vice-president Fred Lunn sent to FIFA last month states that the rest of the CFU members were addressed at a meeting by Warner in Trinidad on May 11.
Lunn said in the affidavit: “Mr Warner stated that he had instructed Mr Bin Hammam to bring the cash equivalent of any gift he had intended to bring for the people attending this meeting. Mr Warner then stated that the money could be used for any purpose... for grassroots programs or any purpose the individuals saw fit.”
As previously reported, Lunn’s affidavit states he was given a brown envelope with $40,000 (€28,000) in cash inside.
He said after photographing the cash, he returned the money and set in train the course of action that has led to the FIFA bribery investigation.
Giskus, meanwhile, said he was not aware that the travel and accommodation costs were being paid for by Bin Hammam, nor was ever told that the money was from the Qatari.
The Barbados FA president Roland Jones released a statement yesterday insisting neither he nor his officials were offered any bribes by Bin Hamman or Warner.