Football: Fifa asks arrested finance watchdog member for explanation

MIAMI (REUTERS) - World football governing body Fifa has asked for an explanation from a member of its financial watchdog who was arrested on suspicion of corruption and money-laundering in the Cayman Islands.

Canover Watson, one of eight members of Fifa's Audit and Compliance Committee and a vice-president of the Caribbean Football Union, has denied the charges and been released on bail in the British overseas territory.

Domenico Scala, head of the committee, said he had asked Watson for details.

"In agreement with the Ethics Committee we have asked Canover Watson whether he can share with the Audit and Compliance Committee any additional information," said Scala in a statement issued by Fifa. "Once we have more information we will consider appropriate measures."

The Fifa committee is charged with ensuring the "completeness and reliability of the financial accounting" of world soccer's governing body.

Cayman Islands Anti-Corruption Commissioner David Baines, in a statement to local media, said that Watson was suspected of "breach of trust contrary to section 13 of the Cayman Islands Anti-Corruption Law, as well as abuse of public office... and conflict of interest".

Those allegations refer to Watson's time at the head of Cayman's Health Service Authority and follow a police investigation into the introduction of a swipe card system.

Baines also cited "suspicion of money-laundering contrary to section 133 of the Proceeds of Crime Law" in the Watson case.

Watson denied the allegations in a statement to the Cayman Compass newspaper. The newspaper said no charges had yet been filed against Watson who, under his bail terms, is due to report back to police on Sept 29.