A top Asian football official said he had been deliberately smeared on Friday after he was accused of ordering documents to be hidden during an audit triggered by corruption claims.
Asian Football Confederation (AFC) general secretary Alex Soosay blamed “election fever” after video surfaced of an employee of the Kuala Lumpur-based body making the claim against him.
According to the Malay Mail, the AFC’s financial director said Soosay asked him to “tamper (with) or hide” documents during a 2012 audit.
The audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers was ordered in the wake of claims of financial wrongdoing by former AFC chief Mohamed bin Hammam, who is now banned from football.
But Soosay, speaking to AFP after this week’s AFC congress in Bahrain, said: “The case is closed. It was thoroughly done and dealt with and bin Hammam was suspended.
“It’s completely, I don’t know, all of a sudden taken out of context. It’s election fever. But there’s nothing to worry about, there’s no concern. It’s dealt with.”
The AFC employee, interviewed on camera by a FIFA investigator in July 2012, said Soosay may have been concerned about signing off on payments to bin Hammam.
Bin Hammam was accused of bribery while campaigning for the FIFA presidency in 2011, and also during Qatar’s bid to host the 2022 World Cup.
According to the Malay Mail, Soosay lodged a police report in August 2012 accusing bin Hammam of embezzling nearly US$10 million.
“Where’s the truth? The truth is that the case has been thoroughly prosecuted. It was a case a long time ago when bin Hammam was suspended,” Soosay told AFP.
The report surfaced in the run-up to Thursday’s congress, where bin Hammam’s successor Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa was re-elected unopposed for a four-year term.
An AFC statement released to AFP said the body “is currently seeking to assess the veracity of these allegations.
“Any new information will be passed on to the relevant bodies for consideration as appropriate.” – Agence France-Presse