(WFI) Suspended former FIFA presidental candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam today failed to show up for the ethics committee hearing into bribery allegations in Zurich. In a statement, the Qatari said he expected to be found guilty and warned that he will drag the case through the appeals courts in a bid to clear his name.
A FIFA spokesman could not confirm to INSIDER whether Bin Hammam had attended the hearing into the cash-for-votes scandal that has rocked world football’s governing body. The banned Asian football boss was reported by the Guardian to have booked into the five-star Baur au Lac but cancelled his stay, according to hotel staff.
Bin Hammam is expected to be given a lifetime ban from football when the ethics panel chaired by Namibia’s Petrus Damaseb delivers its verdict on Saturday afternoon.
Bin Hammam is alleged to have colluded with former FIFA vice-president and CONCACAF boss Jack Warner in paying $40,000 bribes to 25 Caribbean Union Football members at meeting in Trinidad in May in efforts to secure votes to oust Sepp Blatter in the FIFA presidential race. He was suspended on May 29 and quit the race days before the election.
Tonight, the BBC published fresh allegations in the cash-for-votes scandal, claiming that Warner had handed CFU general secretary Angenie Kanhai a case containing 26 envelopes each containing $40,000 to be distributed to CFU members.
Writing on his website today, Bin Hammam said he would fight all the charges.
But after a leaked ethics committee report a few weeks ago, which said there was “compelling” evidence that he and Warner bribed CFU members, and more recent statements by FIFA officials suggesting he would be sanctioned, he believes the decision to find him guilty has already been made.
“So, none of us should be completely surprised if a guilty verdict is returned,” Bin Hammam said.
“I want you all to know that my legal team and I remain confident that the case and the evidence presented against me are weak and unsubstantiated.
“They are flimsy and will not stand up to scrutiny in any court of law; that has been clear throughout this process and it remains to be so.”
The 62-year-old appears to be preparing himself for a lengthy appeals process in an attempt to prove his innocence.
“Rest assured that justice will eventually prevail whether through the FIFA Ethics Committee, the Court of Arbitration of Sport or if necessary, through other courts or legal proceedings in courts where we will be equal and no special privileges will be granted to either party,” he concluded.
Saturday’s statement by ethics chief Damaseb will be streamed live on FIFA.com.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter and secretary general Jerome Valcke will not be in Zurich to hear the verdict on Bin Hammam.
Blatter is in Buenos Aires for the Copa America final on Sunday, while Valcke is said to be travelling to Brazil for meetings and venue tours on the 2014 World Cup this week. Both will be at the 2014 qualifying draw in Rio de Janeiro on July 30.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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