Suriname gifts await FIFA ethics decision

PARAMARIBO, Suriname, June 11, 2011 (AFP) - FIFA's ethical committee has told the Suriname Football Union (SVB) to wait for instructions on what to do with gifts that could be part of the bribery scandal that has rocked FIFA.

Caribbean Football Union (CFU) official Jason Sylvester presented the gifts, including $40,000, to the Suriname board after a meeting with Asian Football Confederation chief Mohamed Bin Hammam of Qatar.

Bin Hammam was among four people suspended by FIFA for alleged roles in the attempted bribery of 25 CFU associations in the build-up to FIFA presidential elections.

Bin Hammam challenged FIFA President Sepp Blatter for the top football post but bowed out after being charged. Blatter was re-elected unopposed on June 1.

As the FIFA investigates allegations of bribery, the SVB has offered all assistance and has faxed all official documents sent by CFU for the meeting with Bim Hammen in Trinidad on June 6 to the FIFA inquiry authorities.

"We are a small and needy country, but will never under any circumstances take bribes or material," SVB chairman Louis Giskus told AFP. "Now we just wait for the FIFA ethical commission to tell us what to do now."

Giskus outlined the details of what Sylvester gave the board and denied any form of bribery took place, saying the SVB will return all gifts if so directed.

"On May 11 we received a laptop, a beamer and a brown envelope with Suriname printed on it, containing four piles of $10,000, brand-new bills," Giskus said.

"CFU official Jason Sylvester responded to my questions saying the beamer and laptop were from CONCACAF and the money came from CFU and was for the development of football projects.

"After rumors in Zurich, we requested the FIFA to be heard immediately on the gifts. On June 1 we confirmed and explained to the FIFA that after the meeting with Bin Hammen and 26 unions, we were all told to gather gifts at the CFU office in Hyatt Hotel."

Giskus said the SVB confirmed receiving the gift in a letter to the CFU.

"The SVB reported the gifts in their administration and their banker, after it noted all bill numbers. The beamer and laptop are already put into use, and the money, put on hold, was going to be spent for next month Olympians games in Paramaribo."

In the past, the SVB has received many CFU material donations and financial aid from FIFA.

"And Sylvester is a CFU official, which is an official authority within the FIFA", Giskus says, adding that the SVB had no doubts at that moment.

According to Giskus, no government official in Suriname has requested any information from the SVB on the FIFA scandal.

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