PARIS (AFP) - FIFA’s
disgraced former vice-president Reynald Temarii of Tahiti has been charged with corruption by French prosecutors probing Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid process.
The charge, the first to emerge from the years-long investigation, is for passive corruption and was confirmed by France’s financial crimes prosecutors (PNF).
Temarii is a former president of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC).
But he was forced out in 2010 after being implicated in a vote-selling scandal during an undercover newspaper sting before the controversial awarding to Qatar of last year’s football showpiece.
Temarii was banned for a year by FIFA on November 17, 2010, ruling him out of the infamous December 2 vote at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich.
The OFC were entitled to organise someone to vote in his place, with the first of their votes designated for Australia then if necessary to the United States, the favourites for the 2022 staging rights over Qatar.
But Temarii appealed his ban on the night of November 30, having initially accepted his suspension.
His appeal, as per FIFA rules, deprived the OFC of a vote on December 2, with Qatar eventually winning the ballot over the USA 14-8.
The French investigation, set up in 2019, was particularly interested in a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris on November 23, 2010, just over a week before the vote, between then French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Qatari prince Tamim ben Hamad al-Thani –- who became Emir in 2013 –- and UEFA president at the time Michel Platini who subsequently voted for Qatar.
Temarii was hit with a separate eight year ban in 2015 for receiving 300,000 euros to cover his legal expenses for his 2010 appeal from former FIFA executive member Mohamed bin Hammam, a key player in securing the World Cup for his home country, Qatar.
Bin Hammam was banned for life from football in 2012.