Former FIFA official Makudi banned 5 years for forgery

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ZURICH (AP) Former FIFA executive committee member Worawi Makudi of Thailand was banned from soccer for five years on Tuesday for election forgery.

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The judging chamber of FIFA’s ethics committee said it found Makudi guilty of forgery and falsification of documents and refusing to cooperate with investigators. Makudi was also fined 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,100).

A longtime ally of former FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar, Makudi was a member of the tainted executive committee for 18 years until Asian federations voted him out in April 2015.

Makudi is the ninth member of the 24-man ruling panel which oversaw the bidding contests for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups who has since been banned for unethical conduct by FIFA.

Four others have been indicted or are under criminal investigation in the United States or Switzerland, though they yet to be banned by the ethics committee. Some of Makudi’s former colleagues have been both banned and indicted.

Makudi’s ethics case centered on his 2013 campaign to win re-election as president of Thailand’s soccer federation (FAT).

“Makudi made alterations to the FAT Statutes without the approval of the FAT Congress,” FIFA ethics judges said, noting that the case was opened after he was convicted of forgery by a Bangkok criminal court.

FIFA’s ethics committee previously investigated Makudi in 2011 over allegations that more than $800,000 of development money from Zurich was spent on projects built on land he owned near Bangkok.

That case was closed after FIFA accepted documents showing he donated the land to the Thai soccer body.

Makudi was also questioned by FIFA investigators over accompanying Bin Hammam on a presidential campaign visit to Trinidad in May 2011. The Qatari candidate withdrew his challenge to Sepp Blatter days before the vote, while under investigation for allegedly bribing Caribbean voters.