Much to account for
multi-million-dollar money trail exposes warner’s dealings as adviser to t&t football federation
PORT OF SPAIN — If international auditing firm KPMG had any concerns about the vast flows of sponsorship money going out of the bank accounts of one of its client, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation, to an agent company created and controlled by the client’s special adviser Jack Warner, it is not at all apparent in the unqualified statement covering three years of audited accounts the firm signed off on in 2008.
Evidence unearthed by this newspaper revealed that the national football federation, its agent company – LOC Germany 2006 – and special adviser Warner, the man who set up the rogue company, were allowed to operate in a zone of impunity by both its conflicted accountant, Kenny Rampersad, and its auditor, KPMG.
LOC Germany, Warner himself and private companies in which National Security Minister Warner had an interest were allowed without challenge, sanction or a note to any of the accounts, to funnel tens of millions of dollars out of TTFF’s bank accounts.
$32 million diverted
In the three-year period under review – 2005 to 2007 – LOC Germany diverted over $32 million in grants and sponsorship money paid into two TTFF accounts held with Republic Bank to itself. JAW Ltd, a private Warner company, redirected more than $13 million in public and private sector money held at the Republic Bank West Mall and Long Circular branches to itself.
Financial records, TTFF bank statements and other documents in the possession of this newspaper show about $3 million in grant money paid to the national football federation in support of the 2006 World Cup campaign being moved to Jamad Ltd, another private Warner entity. The documents show some $9 million was re-routed from the two Republic Bank accounts to Warner himself.
Sponsorship funds were also redirected to other Warner associated companies, including the Dr Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence, Catch of D Day, Sportel Ltd and CONCACAF (the body which represents football federations from North and Central America and the Caribbean) and of which Warner was president.
Another $322,000, representing six transactions over several months in 2007, was moved from another TTFF account held with First Citizens Bank at the corner of Park and Henry Streets to Jamad Ltd.
Money in, money out
The documents show several instances where millions of dollars were deposited into TTFF’s bank accounts and just as quickly transferred to LOC Germany or Warner-related accounts.
On May 2, 2006, $14.4 million was debited from the Republic West Mall account in favour of LOC Germany. The deposit for the same amount was made 16 days later by the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs.
There was another similar money-out money-in transaction on May 8. LOC Germany cleared out a little over $2.6 million the same day the exact sum was paid in by a corporate sponsor.
Voucher-payable documents show a $6.7 million payment being made to Warner in July 2007. The football association’s top officials Oliver Camps and Richard Groden were signatories to the paperwork. The government had paid in just over $10.1 million via the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs the week before. There were also occasions when the bank transfers placed the TTFF accounts in overdraft. (Express)