DUBAI – FIFA executive Mohamed bin Hammam is disappointed with the way the FIFA bribery investigation against him has been handled, but insisted Thursday that he still hopes to get a fair hearing.
Bin Hammam, the suspended Asian Football Confederation president, will face FIFA's ethics committee on July 22 to answer allegations of bribery during his campaign to unseat President Sepp Blatter earlier this year. Bin Hammam and two Caribbean football officials are accused of involvement in a plot to bribe executives in the Caribbean ahead of the June 1 election.
In his first comments in more than a month, bin Hammam complained Thursday on his blog about ''continuous leaks of confidential information'' related to the investigation.
''Despite all these, I am still looking for and hoping to receive a fair hearing one which will not be influenced by any political agenda or motivation,'' bin Hammam said on his blog. ''I hope that the decision will be made solely by the members of this committee and based solely on the facts presented and not based on assumptions or the wishes of people outside the committee.''
Bin Hammam's comments came a day after a person familiar with the case told The Associated Press that FIFA's investigators have gathered further evidence of bribery against the 62-year-old Qatari national. The corruption report - compiled by former FBI agents - was sent to bin Hammam last week.
Nine of the 24 Caribbean Football Union members who attended a meeting in Trinidad in May have now admitted to ex-FBI director Louis Freeh that they were offered or accepted $40,000 payments from bin Hammam, the person said. He spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a confidential report.
An initial report last month by FIFA's ethics committee has already concluded that there was ''compelling'' evidence that bin Hammam and then-CONCACAF President Jack Warner conspired to bribe voters.
The scandal emerged one week before the June 1 FIFA election, and bin Hammam, Warner and the CFU staffers were then provisionally suspended by the ethics panel pending a full inquiry. All have denied wrongdoing.
Bin Hammam withdrew his candidacy three days before the poll, leaving Blatter clear to be elected unopposed at the FIFA congress for a fourth four-year term as the most powerful man in world football.
Bin Hammam has repeatedly said the investigation against him was ''biased'' and his suspension was unfair. He repeated the charges of bias Thursday but that he hoped ''by now, the investigation has identified whether or not there had been attempts by me - directly or indirectly - to buy votes, particularly from those who claimed to have received these monies.''
AP Sports Writer Rob Harris contributed to this story from London.
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