By Paul Nicholson
December 17 – Former Trinidad and Tobago FA president David John-Williams (pictured), the target of a vitriolic character assassination in local media and from the TTFA management that ousted him (before they were removed by FIFA), has issued a powerful statement and evidence rebutting accusations that he stole FIFA funds as “fabrication”.
The charges, made in a TV documentary and in local media, were that he had stolen FIFA grant money via a Panama registered company and bank account.
What now transpires is that John-Williams never had a Panama bank account nor is he a director of either Soreg Inc. or Colsol Investment Corporation that he is alleged to have used to conduct the financial fraud around FIFA grant aid.
The TV documentary made by Guardian Media Group, asserted that John-Williams had opened an account with BPR Bank in Panama, “at the same time the TTFA was struggling to pay its debts with millions being owed. At that same time, the TTFA’s finances were in decline, the account of Williams in an offshore bank was swelling.”
In his statement John-William says: I do not have a bank account in Panama nor am I otherwise beneficially entitled to any monies in any bank account in Panama including BPR Bank S.A, whether through COLSOL Investment Corporation or SOREG Incorporation. Notarised documents provided by attorneys in Panama show that neither myself nor Soreg Inc. and Colsol Investment Corporation have any bank accounts, fixed term loans or loans with BPR Bank, S.A. or used any services of BPR Bank for bank transfers or any transaction of any nature.”
The TV documentary reported: “Forensic investigators alleged that John-Williams inserted his name into these companies listed as a Director and Secretary. This, they say, made it easier for him to then approach BPR Bank, SA to open an account and may have later transferred the money.”
In his statement John-Williams says “Mr. Bassant’s and GML’s statements on this score are untruthful fabrications.”
“I have never been a director or held any office in Colsol Investment Corporation or Soreg Inc.Notarized documents from the public companies’ registry in Panama provided by attorneys in Panama show that a David John Williams domiciled in Hong Kong was listed as a director/secretary in Consol Investment Corporation or Soreg Inc. in 1978 and 1979. In 1978 to 1979 I was attending secondary school,” says John-Williams.
While the documentary was damaging to John-Williams’ reputation in Trinidad, it was also circulated to FAs worldwide prior to the FIFA Congress by another former TTFA president William Wallace, and his lead supporter Keith Look Loy, the inspiration behind the ‘United TTFA’ group that unseated John-Williams.
The objective of that circulation was to support Wallace and Look Loy’s argument that FIFA is a corrupt organisation and that it had illegally removed them from office.
It was a move that spectacularly backfired on them as the full extent of their scheming and political manoeuvring unravelled and local court judgments that had dubiously ruled in their favour were reversed on appeal.
From vilification to vindication
John-Williams was set up as the fall guy for the financial disarray of the TTFA by the Wallace and Look Loy ‘United TTFA’ regime that took control of the FA in elections at the end of 2019 but by March 2020 had been removed by FIFA and replaced with a Normalisation Committee.
Wallace and Look Loy had driven the TTFA into the ground – almost to the point of extinction – via a failure to address the TTFA’s debt issues, inability to raise any new money, alienate and abuse governing body funding partners at FIFA and Concacaf (the hands that feed football on the islands), and incur new debt, not least with the appointment of an unqualified new national team manager who had supported them in their campaign for election and reportedly forged signatures of sponsor support that never materialised.
The TTFA had become a pit of snakes venomously biting anyone that came within biting distance as Wallace and Look Loy blamed everyone except themselves for the FA’s rapid downward spiral.
John-Williams was always the villain of their story, who they claimed was responsible for the TTFA’s financial demise. But the reality is that the TTFA and its administration had been endlessly gorging itself at the FIFA trough going right back to the dark days and corrupt administration of Jack Warner who was Concacaf president and a FIFA vice president and still wanted by the US Justice Department to face multiple indictments in the FIFAgate scandal.
John-Williams inherited a TTFA that had debt of about TT$52 million, and passed on the Wallace administration a recognised debt of about TT$38 million. That debt had risen by more than TT$30 million in the three short months Wallace and Look Loy were at the helm.
Contact the writer of this story at email@example.com