Other defendants face additional charges
Former FIFA Vice President Jeffrey Webb was charged Friday in connection with an ongoing Cayman Islands criminal investigation involving the award of a public hospital contract to a local company prosecutors allege was controlled by Webb’s close associate Canover Watson.
According to a press release issued Friday afternoon by the Cayman Islands Anti-Corruption Commission, both Watson and Webb have been jointly charged with two counts of conspiracy to defraud, contrary to common law, and with an additional count of breach of trust by a public official, contrary to the Cayman Islands Anti-Corruption Law.
In addition, Webb, Watson and Watson’s former personal assistant at Admiral Administration, Miriam Rodriguez, were jointly charged Friday with one count of conspiracy to convert criminal property, contrary to the Cayman Islands Penal Code and the Proceeds of Crime Law.
Watson and Rodriguez are due to appear in court Tuesday to answer the additional charges against them. The two had already been charged in connection with the CarePay investigation and were set to face trial on those charges in November.
A warrant for Webb was issued Friday from the Cayman Islands. He is currently being held in detention in Switzerland following his arrest on May 27 in connection with U.S.-based racketeering and bribery charges.
Local police said they would begin extradition proceedings for Webb in Switzerland.
The announcement by the Anti-Corruption Commission Friday marks the first time Webb has been publicly linked to the hospital contract investigation here in Cayman.
Watson faces 10 charges in Cayman Islands Grand Court for which he is due to stand trial in November, including six charges for alleged money laundering.
Rodriguez also faces two charges of money laundering in the Grand Court and a November trial date. The money laundering allegations against Rodriguez relate to separate amounts totaling US$25,000 and US$30,000 that she is accused of handling on behalf of Watson.
The money laundering charges allege that in June and July 2012, Rodriguez possessed “criminal property” that represented, either directly or indirectly, the benefits of criminal conduct totaling US$55,000.
The allegation in the charges against Rodriguez is that while working at Admiral Administration, she received cash in envelopes from “persons involved in AIS” and “forwarded it on to a third party without disclosing the same.”
The third party referred to, but not named, in court records was not connected with Admiral Administration. AIS – Advanced Information Systems [Cayman] Ltd. – is a company in which Watson had a substantial beneficial interest, according to Crown prosecutors, and to which multimillion-dollar healthcare-related contracts were awarded while he served as chairman of the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority board of directors.
The money laundering charges against Watson relate to a total of US$169,000 and cover the period from Dec. 30, 2010, to June 2012. The charges are brought under the Proceeds of Crime Law. He is also charged with failing to disclose a pecuniary interest, breach of trust, fraud on the government and conflict of interest.
The charges relate to a period during which Watson approved and signed the contract for the Cayman Islands’ public healthcare patient swipe-card payment system – known as CarePay – and a second contract for a computerized pharmaceutical tracking system.