FIFA’s Ethic Committee’s take on Seedy Kinteh

Friday, December 21, 2018

E. Assessment of potential infringements of the 2012 FCE committed by Mr Kinteh

1.         Possible violation of art. 21 of the 2012 FCE (Bribery and corruption)

 a) The relevant facts

 18. In relation to the allegation of bribery against Mr Kinteh (art. 21 of the 2012 FCE), the Adjudicatory Chamber considers the following facts to be established to its comfortable satisfaction:

 Payment of USD 26,820 for Nissan Pick-Up Vehicle 

 19.       On 11 August 2008, a payment of USD 26,820 was made by the AFC to the account of Mr Shyben A. Madi, a car dealer from Gambia. The corresponding pro forma invoice dated 30 April 2008 attests the order of a Nissan Pick-Up “Hardboy” for USD 26 820 and shows as customer the Gambia Football Federation.  [cf. Final Report, p. 6]

 20.       Mr Kinteh explained that during his visit in Kuala Lumpur in 2008, he had asked Mr Bin Hammam for assistance to purchase a new vehicle for GFF. On 4 August 2008 (i.e. a week before the payment was done), Mr Kinteh sent a reminder letter on behalf of GFF to Mr Bin Hammam to ask about the car. 

 21.       The purchase of the car was never recorded in the books of the GFF.  [cf. Final Report, p. 6]

 Payment of USD 10,000 for alleged Hosting of Delegates

 22.       On 24 February 2010, following Mr Kinteh’s re-election for a second term as GFF president on 7 January 2010, a payment of USD 10 000 was made to the personal account of the Mr Kinteh. 

 23.       Prior to the GFF electoral congress, during Mr Kinteh’s electoral campaign, Mr Kinteh had hosted 58 regional presidents at the Mannjai Lodge Hotel over New Year’s Eve 2009. 

 24.       In order to allegedly cover the respective hotel costs, Mr Kinteh had asked Mr Bin

Hammam for his financial support to settle the bill from the Mannjai Lodge of USD 10,815 (email of 12 February 2010). In his request to Mr Bin Hammam, Mr Kinteh emphasized that “delegates that come from the country side are usually hosted by the President or would be because they have the mass of the votes thus they cannot be left out”. 

[cf. Final Report, p. 7] 

25.        In his answers to the Investigatory Chamber dated 13 June 2017, Mr Kinteh explained that, allegedly due to the financial restraints of the GFF, he had personally covered the hotel expenses for these delegates. Mr Kinteh also admitted that no one at the Federation was aware of the request for financial assistance made to Mr Bin Hammam. 

[cf. Final Report, p. 7] 

 

26.        Mr Kinteh also confirmed that the financial support from Mr Bin Hammam of USD 10 000 had been given to him personally via transfer to his personal bank account.  [cf. Final Report, p. 7]

 Payment of USD 50,000 for alleged Personal Construction Works

 27.       On 16 March 2011, a payment of USD 50,000 was sent to the personal bank account of Mr Kinteh.  

[cf. Final Report, p. 7]

 28.       In an email of 11 March 2011, Mr Kinteh reminded Mr Bin Hammam of the upcoming WAFU extraordinary general assembly in the Gambia on 8 and 9 April 2011 (the “WAFU meeting”). Subsequently, Mr Chirakal informed Mr Kinteh via email dated 17 March 2011 that the payment of USD 50,000 had been transferred to Mr Kinteh’s account. On 12 April 2011, following the WAFU meeting, Mr Kinteh sent a “letter of gratitude” to Mr Bin Hammam.  

 29.       Remarkably, this third payment (USD 50,000) was received by Mr Kinteh only one day before Mr Bin Hammam announced he would run for the FIFA presidency (election that would take place on 1 June 2011). 

[cf. Final Report, p. 8]

Payment of USD 9,396 for Airline Tickets

 30.       On 27 April 2011, Mr Bin Hammam made a payment of USD 9 396 to Mr Kinteh’s personal bank account. 

[cf. Final Report, p. 8]

 31.       According to an email from Mr Kinteh to Mr Bin Hammam dated 28 April 2011, the payment was made to cover Mr Kinteh’s flight costs for his intended visits to other WAFU member associations. 

[cf. Final Report, p. 8]

 32.       On 18 March 2011, Mr Bin Hammam publicly announced that he would run as a candidate for the FIFA presidential elections of 1 June 2011. Accordingly, the Adjudicatory Chamber notes that Mr Kinteh accepted a USD 9,396 payment from a direct contestant for the FIFA presidency. 

 33.Mr Kinteh admitted in his answers to the Investigatory Chamber dated 13 June 2017 that he had requested the payment and that it had been made to his personal account. With regard to the relevant flights, he mentioned that ultimately he did not travel. However, Mr Kinteh did not explain how he ultimately used the funds.  [cf. Final Report, p. 8]

 Trip to Canada in 2007

 34.       In 2007, the Gambia U-20 Men’s national team qualified for the FIFA U-20 World CupTM in Canada, which took place from 30 June until 22 July 2007. According to the email exchanges between Mr Kinteh and Mr Chirakal on 27-28 June 2007, Mr Kinteh asked Bin Hammam for financial assistance in order to purchase the flight tickets for the GFF delegation to Canada.

[cf. Final Report, p. 9]

 35.       The payment of Mr Bin Hammam was paid directly to a travel agency in June 2007. 

 36.       Mr Kinteh admits that in the end, no flights tickets were purchased.  

 37.       Mr Kinteh did not provide evidence that GFF was made aware of this payment; neither did he explain the ultimate use of Mr Bin Hammam’s funds.  

 Visit to Kuala Lumpur in June 2008 

38.        In 2008, Mr Bin Hammam had invited Mr Kinteh and other presidents of member associations from the Confederation of African Football (the “CAF”) to Kuala Lumpur. 

 39.       Mr Kinteh admits that all travel arrangements and expenses had been arranged by and covered by Mr Bin Hammam (via the AFC). 

[cf. Final Report, p. 9]

 40.       Mr Kinteh remembered that it was during this visit to Kuala Lumpur that he asked Mr Bin Hammam for financial assistance in relation to the purchase of the Nissan Pick-up. 

[cf. Final Report, p. 9]

 Visit to Doha in November 2010

 41.       Following an invitation from the Qatar Football Association (QFA) to attend a friendly match between Argentina and Brazil on 17 November 2010, Mr Kinteh travelled to Doha. During his stay in Doha, Mr Kinteh stayed in the Ritz Carlton Hotel.

42.        At that time, Mr Bin Hammam was the president of the QFA. 

43.        He admits that the Qatar Football Association covered all expenses related to this trip. 

[cf. Final Report, p. 10]

44.        According to Mr Kinteh, the invitation to Doha had been extended to nearly all presidents from the CAF region. 

[cf. Final Report, pp. 9 and 10]

 b) Summary of the position of the Investigatory Chamber

 45. With regard to the Investigatory Chamber’s position on the above-mentioned agreements, promises and payments, reference is made to the pertinent sections of the Final Report.

[Final Report, pp. 6 et seqq.]

  c) Summary of the position of Mr Kinteh

46.        In his position submitted to the Adjudicatory Chamber regarding the first payment, Mr Kinteh stated that “I did not receive any Nissan pick up vehicle”. In his position to the Investigatory Chamber, he previously stated that the funds had been used to cover other federation expenses, without further details or evidence thereof.  [cf. Position statement to the Adjudicatory Chamber received on 4 May 2018, p. 4]

 47.       Regarding the payment of USD 10,000 that Mr Kinteh received to cover his costs in relation to hosting delegates in the context of the GFF elections, he stated that he was the only candidate running for the position of GFF president. In this sense, Mr Kinteh argued that due to the lack of opponents, there was no need for him to host an electoral campaign (which, in turn, would make a potential payment from Mr Bin Hammam superfluous). 

[cf. Position statement to the Adjudicatory Chamber received on 4 May 2018, p. 4]   

 48.       With respect to the third payment (in the amount of USD 50 000), Mr Kinteh stated that it had been given to him due to his personal friendship with Mr Bin Hammam, in order to cover construction works. He also added that its timing, coinciding with Mr Bin Hammam presidential campaign, was fortuitous. 

 49.       With regard to the WAFU meeting, Mr Kinteh specified that it had already been planned during the CAF general assembly in Khartoum, earlier in 2011. In this sense, Mr Kinteh alleges that the use of the USD 50 000 cannot be linked to the WAFU meeting. 

[cf. Position statement to the Adjudicatory Chamber received on 4 May 2018, p. 3] 

 50.       As for the fourth payment (totalling USD 9 396), Mr Kinteh reiterated that ultimately, he did not travel to other WAFU member associations, without specifying the ultimate use of the funds.

[cf. Position statement to the Adjudicatory Chamber received on 4 May 2018]

 51.With regard to Mr Bin Hammam’s financial support for the trip to attend the FIFA U20 World CupTM, Mr Kinteh reiterated that he did not travel to Canada in 2007.

[cf. Position statement to the Adjudicatory Chamber received on 4 May 2018, p. 2]

 52.       With regard to his trips to Kuala Lumpur in June 2008 and Doha in November 2010, Mr Kinteh mentioned in his position to the Adjudicatory Chamber that he referred to the answers he provided to the Investigatory Chamber. In said answers, Mr Kinteh stated that   the AFC and the QFA covered his expenses and that he did not receive any per diem. He also explained that the goal of the visit to Kuala Lumpur was to establish close ties and that he asked for the Nissan Pick-Up on that occasion. Regarding the trip to Doha Mr Kinteh averred that nearly all CAF’s federations’ presidents had been invited to attend a friendly match between Argentina and Brazil on 17 November 2011. Mr Kinteh claims that he does not remember the exact duration of his stay.

[cf. Position statement to the Adjudicatory Chamber received on 4 May 2018, p. 2]

 53.       Finally, in relation to his lack of responsiveness and inability to travel, Mr Kinteh mentioned  that he had been assigned to work in a remote area of the Gambia (which had allegedly made the exchange of correspondence more difficult) and also brought forward apparent health issues. 

[cf. Position statement to the Adjudicatory Chamber received on 4 May 2018, pp. 1 and 3]

  d) Assessment of art. 21 of the 2012 FCE by the Adjudicatory Chamber 

 A. Wording of the relevant provision

 54. According to art. 21 par. 1 of the 2012 FCE, persons bound by the Code must not offer, promise, give or accept any personal or undue pecuniary or other advantage in order to obtain or retain business or any other improper advantage to or from anyone within or outside FIFA. Such acts are prohibited, regardless of whether carried out directly or indirectly through, or in conjunction with, intermediaries or related parties as defined in the Code. In particular, persons bound by the Code must not offer, promise, give or accept any undue pecuniary or other advantage for the execution or omission of an act that is related to their official activities and is contrary to their duties or falls within their discretion. Any such offer must be reported to the Ethics Committee and any failure to do so shall be sanctionable in accordance with the Code.

B. Persons involved

55. The first two elements set out in art. 21 par. 1 of the 2012 FCE are that (i) the person acting must be bound by the 2012 FCE and (ii) the counterpart must be a person within or outside FIFA, an intermediary or a related party as defined in the Code, which means that any third party can be considered as counterpart within the meaning of art. 21 par. 1 of the 2012 FCE. As it has already been shown, Mr Kinteh was at the relevant time an official bound by the FCE. His counterpart, in turn – Mr Bin Hammam – was the vice-president of FIFA, and thus a person within FIFA. 

 C. fering, promising, giving or accepting of an advantage

 56.       The undue pecuniary or other advantage within the meaning of art. 21 par. 1 of the 2012 FCE must, in order to constitute a violation of the same provision, be offered, promised, given or accepted by the persons involved. Both the acceptance of an offer or a promise on the one hand and of the actual advantage on the other hand constitute acts of bribery and corruption. From a legal perspective, it is therefore not decisive if benefits were actually given (e.g. payments actually made).

 57.       The first payment of Mr Bin Hammam to Mr Kinteh was made on 11 August 2008 and amounted to USD 26 820. Prior to this request, Mr Kinteh solicited both during the AFC event in June 2008 in Kuala Lumpur and in a letter sent to Mr Bin Hammam on 4 August 2008 financial assistance to buy a Nissan vehicle. By soliciting the payment of the Nissan Pick-Up on two occasions, Mr Kinteh is deemed to have accepted to receive such. Mr Kinteh also admitted to have used the funds, even though referring to GFF expenses. The Adjudicatory Chamber is not satisfied with Mr Kinteh’s explanation in this respect. Mr Kinteh was unable to explain how the amount was used, by whom, and when; his allegation remained unsubstantiated, and therefore implausible. Rather, the Adjudicatory Chamber is comfortable to attribute the payment made by Mr Bin Hammam to the car dealer (as well as for other intermediaries; cf. pars. 97-99 below) to Mr Kinteh personally. The fact that Mr Kinteh alleges not having received the car, is irrelevant, since it was him that initially requested the funds from Mr Bin Hammam and acknowledges its use. The Adjudicatory Chamber sees no other explanation why Mr Bin Hammam would buy a car in Gambia, at a time when coincidentally, Mr Kinteh was the beneficiary of various other payments allocated by him (Mr Bin Hammam). 

 58.       The second payment of USD 10,000 for alleged hosting of delegates made on 24 February 2010 was directly made to Mr Kinteh’s personal account. He is therefore deemed to have accepted and be given such payment.

 59.       The third payment of USD 50,000 for alleged personal construction work was made on 16 March 2011 to the personal account of Mr Kinteh. Further, Mr Kinteh admitted, in his submission to the Investigatory Chamber, having orally requested the payment to Mr Bin Hammam during the June 2008 event in Kuala Lumpur. Moreover, the payment of Mr Bin Hammam is corroborated by the fact that Mr Kinteh sent him (Mr Bin Hammam) a letter of gratitude on 12 April 2011. Mr Kinteh thus, accepted and received Mr Bin Hammam’s third payment. 

 60.       The fourth payment of USD 9,396 for airline tickets was made on 27 April 2011 directly to Mr Kinteh’s personal bank account. Mr Kinteh admitted that he did not use the funds for the intended purpose, was however unable to satisfactorily explain how the funds were used elsewise. Therefore, the Adjudicatory Chamber is comfortable that Mr Kinteh was given and accepted this fourth payment. 

61.In relation to the purported flight tickets to Canada in 2007, Mr Kinteh repeatedly requested the payment to Mr Bin Hammam (via phone calls and email) and subsequently (e.g. after the payment) thanked him for it. The Adjudicatory Chamber is therefore comfortable that Mr Kinteh accepted such payment. 

 62.       With respect to the visit to Kuala Lumpur in June 2008, Mr Kinteh acknowledged that all expenses were covered by Mr Bin Hammam (via the AFC). Thus, it is not contested that the payments related to Mr Kinteh’s stay in Kuala Lumpur were accepted by the latter. 

 63.       Similarly, all expenses related to Mr Kinteh’s visit to Doha in November 2010 were covered by Mr Bin Hammam (via the QFA) and, consequently, given to and accepted by him. 

 64.       In view of the above, the overall amount paid by Mr Bin Hammam in favour of Mr Kinteh adds up to at least to USD 96,216. 

 65.       In addition to the aforementioned payments, Mr Kinteh accepted to receive other benefits from Mr Bin Hammam, namely a trip to Doha (Qatar) in April 2011 and a trip to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) in June 2008.  

 66.       In view of all the above, the Adjudicatory Chamber is comfortably satisfied that Mr Kinteh accepted and received several payments and benefits from Mr Bin Hammam. 

 D. Personal or undue pecuniary or other advantage

 67.       Secondly, a “personal or undue pecuniary or other advantage” must be at stake.

  To be continued