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Cayman Islands Soccer Heads Arrested in Corruption Scandal

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Bruce Blake, 47,

 

 
 
They are accused of taking bribes and money laundering.

Two officials of the Cayman Islands Football Association, CIFA, have been arrested in connection with a corruption and money laundering probe.

Bruce Blake, 47, the vice president of CIFA, was one of the two men arrested by Anti-Corruption Commission, ACC, investigators on Thursday. Canover Watson, the former CIFA treasurer, was also arrested Friday.

ACC said they were both arrested on suspicion of “secret commissions,” an offense under the Section 21 of the Anti-Corruption Law, and on suspicion of money laundering contrary to the Proceeds of Crime Law.

“Mr. Blake’s arrest was in connection with suspicion of allegations of secret commission and money laundering in relation to the signing of two loan agreements on behalf of CIFA with regards to two amounts of US$600,000 each received in the Butterfield Bank account of CIFA and then transferred to the CIFA loan account at Fidelity Bank,” Blake’s attorney Steve McField said in a statement released Monday.

McField said his client had been released on bail and had not been charged with any crimes. He added that Blake had not “engaged in arranging nor receiving any secret commission” or in money laundering.

Blake was a close associate of former CIFA president and FIFA Vice President Jeffrey Webb who has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing for his conviction in the FIFA corruption scandal. Evidence indicated that CIFA cash and bank accounts may have been misused by Webb and Watson to move around money related to their illegitimate and legitimate earnings.

In a statement on Monday, CIFA said it had “temporarily suspended Bruce Blake as an executive member with immediate effect.”

“Based on the statement by Mr. Blake’s attorney, we understand that the investigation is focused on specific transactions of the former president and former treasurer,” the association said.

CIFA said it had recently received financial approval for funding from FIFA to conduct its forensic audit to address its financial questions.

“CIFA continues to reaffirm its commitment to transparency and accountability,” it added.

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