Watson on bail until court hearing

Cayman Islands businessman and suspended FIFA audit committee member Canover Watson will remain free on police bail at least until his scheduled court hearing on Tuesday.

Mr. Watson, 43, was charged with five separate offenses related to allegations of corruption, fraud and money laundering Thursday after he reported to officers as per the earlier conditions of his bail.

Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission David Baines said Mr. Watson would remain on bail until Tuesday.

Mr. Watson, who did not issue a statement Thursday following news of the charges, has previously denied any allegations that he participated in corrupt activities.

The charges stem from an ongoing investigation into the 2010 award of a public hospital contract for a swipe card payment system, known as CarePay, for Cayman Islands National Insurance Company customers. Mr. Watson, a former recipient of the Young Caymanian Leadership Award, was chairman of the Health Services Authority board of directors at the time the contract was awarded.

Mr. Watson was arrested during the investigation on Aug. 28. He has been reporting to the police periodically on bail since then.

He is the only person to have been charged in connection with the investigation, which has been ongoing for several months within the police Anti-Corruption Unit and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Financial Crime Unit. The investigation was begun following the findings of an auditor general’s office review of the CarePay contract process.

The charges filed against Mr. Watson Thursday include: conflict of interest, breach of trust by a public official and fraud on government under the Anti Corruption Law [2008], failing to disclose a pecuniary interest contrary to the Health Services Authority Law [2005] and money laundering. The last charge alleges that Mr. Watson acquired criminal property “in the amount of US$50,000.”

Mr. Baines said “it was anticipated” that additional charges would be forthcoming.

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