A Guam business man is the latest big wig to get caught up in the FIFA scandal over a year, May 27th, 2015 since to dawn raid at the Bar au Luc 6 star luxury FIFA pad on the banks of Lake Zurich. Goodness knows how much Richard Lai charged FIFA for first class flights from the Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport in Guam to meetings in Zurich and elsewhere.
As far away as you can get from Football HQ in Zurich, The Guam Football Association hq and training facilities is in Harmon. RICHARD LAI pleaded guilty to US federal charges that he took close to $1 million in bribes in exchange for using his influence within global football. He is a member of the FIFA audit committee and on the Asian Federation ethics committee !! REALLY !! He received $100,000 from FIFA Presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam of Qatar, and even more from a member of the Kuwait F A and Olympic Council of Asia. Al-Sabah. Lai is the second member of the FIFA audit and compliance committee to plead guilty. In February 2016 Canover Watson of the Cayman Islands was jailed for 7 years.
"The defendant abused the trust placed in him as a soccer official in order to line his own pockets, and now he will be held to account", stated Bridget M. Rohde federal prosecutor.and acting US attorney for the Eastern District of New York. The US Justice Department in NYC announced that Lai had pleaded guilty to having received more than $850,000 in bribes between 2009 and 2014 from soccer officials in the Asian Football Confederation. " Its devastating, I mean WOW, how deep does it go" stated attorney Randy Cunliffe, chairman of the Asian Football Committee. " Its a real black eye to Guam and its football association".
In 2011 Lai, a local restauranter and 55 year old US citizen, received a $100,000 bribe in order to vote for the guy running for FIFA President. Federal authorities subpoenaed the financial records of the Guam FA. Lai also pleaded guilty of failing to disclose foreign bank accounts and agreed to pay more than $1.1 million in forfeiture and penalties. He owns the Samurai Japanese restaurant in Tumon Bay (shrimp and steak $120.00) and was Small Business Person of the Year in 2012. FIFA has provided over $1.25 million a year to help the local GFA local football program. What has happened to all this money going to a small association? One casualty was the Guam Matao men's team that had to withdraw from the Asian Cup due to lack of funds.
Matao captain Jason Cunliffe wonders if their place was given up in exchange for money. He wondered how many GFA officials were complicit. Palm fringed Guam has a small population of only 170,000. A November 6th trial begins for 5 other defendants who have pleaded not guilty. On Friday he was provisionally suspended by the AFC for 90 days. The Pacific island of Guam is a U.S. territory but is a member of AFA and FIFA.
FIFA's ethics committee has opened formal proceedings against Caribbean Football Union president Gordon Derrick who is general secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association. Alleged conflicts of interest, accepting and offering bribes and gifts, mismanagement of funds and abuse of position and disloyalty. A 4 year ban and a $15,000 fine was called for.
One of the most powerful man in sport, Sheikh Ahmed Al- Fahad Al- Ahmad Al- Sabah has been identified by the US DOJ as a co-conspirator of an alleged $1.3 million bribery scam. German newspaper Der Spiegel also stated this week that FIFA President Gianni Infantino was the subject of YET ANOTHER preliminary investigation by the FIFA ethics committee into whether the 41 year old Swiss-Italian had a prohibited influence on the recent African Football Confederation (CAF) presidential election.
Also the French financial prosecutors' office announced that it had joined the US DODJ and the office of the Attorney General of Switzerland in launching an investigation into the award of the next two World Cups and had already interviewed 81 year old Sepp Blatter.