4 July 2017

Cayman Islands FA Vice President denies corruption allegations

Bruce Blake, Vice President of the Cayman Islands football association (CIFA), has been released on bail after being arrested by the Cayman Islands Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on 29 June. In a statement issued through his lawyer, Blake confirmed that he was the ’47-year-old male’ referred to in an ACC statement. In a statement, CIFA announced that it had ‘provisionally suspended’ Blake.

‘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’, read the statement issued by Blake’s lawyer. ‘Those two amounts were represented to Mr. Blake to be loans to CIFA to pay down on the CIFA loan at Fidelity Bank in order for Fidelity Bank to remove the charge on the CIFA Centre of Excellence in compliance with FIFA regulations.’

‘Mr. Blake has not at anytime engaged in arranging nor receiving any secret commission’, continued the statement. ‘Mr. Blake has not at anytime engaged in money laundering. Mr. Blake has not at anytime received or arranges any corrupt payment for or to CIFA nor any other entity or person(s). Mr. Blake has not at anytime engaged in any secret payment(s) or improper business or unprofessional practices or advantages for himself or any other person(s) or entity.’

A second person, aged 46, was arrested a day later, is understood from local reports to be Canover Watson. Watson is a former member of FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee, is currently appealing a conviction for fraud, issued last year, in a CarePay swipecard fraud scheme alleged to have taken place whilst he was Minister for Health.

In evidence given last year, Watson said that FIFA funds intended for the development of the CIFA Centre of Excellence were diverted for the personal use of Jeffrey Webb, the former CONCACAF President who in 2015 pleaded guilty to charges brought by the US Department of Justice (DoJ). Watson claimed that US$250,000 was transferred to Black Holdings, which deposited the money into a Fidelity Bank account opened to receive funds from the Health Service Authority for the CarePay contract in April 2011.

The funds were later used as a payment on Webb’s mansion near Atlanta, Georgia. Black Holdings Ltd. had a contract to work on the CIFA Centre of Excellence in Prospect, and was owned by Peter Campbell who has been a local CIFA vice-president since 2009. According to FIFA records, Black Holdings Ltd. and Roy Campbell & Sons Construction Ltd., received about $1.2 million of development funds for the Centre of Excellence between 2003 and 2009. It is understood that Webb’s trial – which has been postponed numerous times – will now take place in January next year.

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