Former Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) president Oliver Camps has turned on longtime friend and ex-TTFF Special Adviser Jack Warner who is now facing extradition charges over multiple allegations of corruption while he was vice-president of FIFA and president of CONCACAF.
In an interview with UK Channel 4, Camps, who served as head of local football for 19 years, described Warner as “a brother” but claims “he made me do the wrong thing.”
Camps resigned his TTFF post on October 27, 2011 following the infamous Hyatt meeting where US$40,000 was allegedly handed over to Caribbean football delegates by Mohammed bin Hammam in a cash for votes FIFA scandal. In the UK Channel 4 interview, Camps finally admitted he was aware of the money being disbursed despite denying so in a June 9, 2011 press release.
“The Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation...wishes to explicitly state that none of its delegates were offered any inducements, bribes or gifts to support any of the candidates during the meeting,” Camps had previously stated.
Questioned by Newsday in 2011 about the validity of that statement, a defiant Camps declared, “I spoke the truth then and I stand by it.”
He told a different version to international media however when grilled about the US$40,000 alleged bribes.
“I knew that it was...I never saw the money but I knew that it was being...from the information I had... that that was being done and I was not present at the time that it was being done. I had left the meeting...At my office I understand that...I was told that there was a gift that was given and I passed it on to the treasurer,” a stuttering Camps told Channel 4.
The 84-year-old washed his hands of any wrongdoing and also declared himself completely ignorant of any corruption taking place during Warner’s tenure.
“If he came to me and told me that there was some transaction... I had confidence in him and I would sign. I am amazed that I did not detect these things at the time but I just didn’t,” Camps said in Channel 4 interview.
The ex-football boss said he was flabbergasted about the allegations that Warner failed to pass on US$750,000 FIFA aid to Haiti following the devastating 2010 earthquake that killed over 300,000 people. The FBI is currently investigating Warner concerning that money as well as a US$10 million alleged payment from South Africa to him.
“I am amazed here. It shocks me...I don’t believe it as a matter of fact. I cannot believe it, I am wondering whether it’s a mistake. I am not doubting it in any way but I am hoping it is a mistake...I feel abused, not only used,” Camps declared.
Camps, as head of the then-TTFF, was also embroiled in a legal battle with 13 members of the 2006 Soca Warriors team over non-payment of World Cup bonuses.
Minister of Sport Brent Sancho estimates that close to $200 million has been unaccounted for from their investigations.
Warner 'ally' Camps speaks out.
T&T Express Reports.
Oliver Camps, a close friend and colleague of former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, has spoken about the FBI's claim that his former boss was involved in bribery.
Camps was Jack Warner's right hand man and close friend for more than 20 years. Now the former FIFA executive committee member is wanted by the FBI, Camps is the first of Warner's inner circle to speak out publicly about what happened.
Camps told Channel 4 News: “We were like brothers...I could tell him what I wanted and we were very frank with each other. I realise I should not have put so much confidence in him because he made me do the wrong thing and I was doing it very innocently. I knew nothing about those things.”
Camps was chair of Caribbean football's finance committee and signed cheques in Trinidad for millions on Warner's behalf.
These cheques were supposed to finance Trinidad's team in the 2006 World Cup campaign in Germany and were still being signed three years after the World Cup had ended in what the authorities there allege was a money laundering operation on Warner's behalf.
“If he came to me and told me there was some transaction, I had confidence in him, I would sign. I am amazed that I did not detect these things at the time but I just didn't. I just thought everything was above board,” he said.
Camps said he was not aware of wrongdoing and says he feels let down by someone to whom he was very close. Warner was not available for comment, but has previously denied wrongdoing.