Former FIFA VP questioned in 2022 World Cup probe

Reynald Temarii of Tahiti, the president of Oceania's confederation. (NZPA, David Rowland/AP)

PARIS — French police have questioned former FIFA vice-president Reynald Temarii in their investigation into suspected corruption in the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

Temarii, a former Tahiti player who served as a FIFA vice-president for Oceania, is serving an eight-year ban from soccer.

Officers from a French police unit that specializes in corruption and financial crimes travelled to Tahiti to question him this week at the request of French financial prosecutors leading the 2022 investigation, a French judicial official said Thursday.

The official spoke to The Associated Press about the police mission on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly discuss the probe. The official said Temarii was taken into police custody on Tuesday evening and held for one day while he was questioned.

Temarii was banned twice by the FIFA ethics committee — before and after FIFA executives gave the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar in a controversial and corruption-tainted vote.

He first got a one-year ban for talking to undercover reporters from The Sunday Times. He was then banned again for eight years in 2015 for taking 305,640 euros ($415,000) from Qatari official Mohamed bin Hammam.

The French officers who travelled to Tahiti wanted to question him about that 2011 payment, the judicial official said. It was the first time French police have questioned Temarii in the 2022 probe, the official added.

Bin Hammam, a former FIFA presidential candidate, has been banned for life from soccer for ethics violations.


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