By Andrew Warshaw
November 22 – In another hugely embarrassing blow to the credibility of FIFA’s supposedly revamped ethics process under the regime of Gianni Infantino, a leading FIFA ethics official whose lofty position gives him the right to pass judgement on corrupt footballing figures has himself been arrested on suspicion of corruption and temporarily thrown out.
Infantino has been at pains since coming to power than he is cleaning up the organisation following the FifaGate scandal that preceded his presidency.
But the detention and suspension of Sundra Rajoo, appointed deputy chairman of the FIFA’s Ethics Adjudicatory Chamber only last year, strongly suggests there is still wrongdoing at the very heart of FIFA’s new-look governance mechanism.
In a brief statement, FIFA said that “Mr Rajoo will not be involved in any further activities of the adjudicatory chamber” while an investigation is carried out by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission for alleged financial wrongdoing in his job leading an arbitration service.
The decision was imposed “with immediate effect” by Greek judge Vassilios Skouris, appointed 18 months ago to replace Hans-Joachim Eckert as Fifa’s head ethics judge in a purge orchestrated by Infantino who also contrived to remove FIFA’s lead ethics prosecutor, Cornel Borbely, from office.
Reports in Malaysia said Rajoo was held overnight on his return from a business trip to Fifa but released after a court accepted his representatives’ arguments that he effectively had diplomatic immunity due to his high-profile legal roles. But he has nevertheless resigned from his position with the Malaysia-based Asian International Arbitration Centre.
His lawyer, Cheow Wee, said a court refused a request for a seven-day remand order against Rajoo, and that he was later released unconditionally.
The Malaysian authourities wanted to question Rajoo “regarding a corruption allegation” but his lawyer said the judge “agreed with our position that he has diplomatic immunity and privileges. He cannot be arrested nor detained, and isn’t subjected to our criminal jurisdiction.”
Contact the writer of this story at email@example.com