Former football execs appear in Grand Court

Former football executive Bruce Blake walks out of the Cayman Islands courthouse Friday after making his initial Grand Court appearance to answer to corruption-related charges stemming from his time as a Cayman Islands Football Association Executive Committee member.

Two former high‑ranking football officials made their initial appearances in Grand Court Friday to answer to several corruption‑related charges.

Canover Watson and Bruce Blake face nine charges in total stemming from their time as Executive Board members at the Cayman Is‑ lands Football Association, including three counts of money laundering and concealing criminal property.

Two of the charges particularly relating to Blake, however, remain be‑ fore the Summary Court. Prosecutor James Hines, QC, told Justice Marlene Carter how the charges were spread across three separate charge sheets. The trial bundle is “substantial” and has taken time to compile, he said.

Watson’s defence attorney, Lee Halliday‑Davis, said she had just received papers on Thursday and requested four weeks to review, which Justice Carter granted. Watson and Blake will now reappear in Grand Court on 4 Oct., when they will be arraigned. They remain on bail.

The pair are accused of providing CIFA auditor Phillip Rankin with two loan agreements that contained false statements intended to mislead CIFA, according to court documents.

Prosecutors also say the men used a document required for ac‑ counting purposes dishonestly and with intent to cause loss to CIFA, namely a loan dated 31 Dec. 2013 between CIFA and Forward Sports International Management Inc. in the sum of US$600,000 which to their knowledge was misleading, false or deceptive and that those two entities had not actually entered into a loan agreement, according to court documents.

Former football executive Canover Watson walks into the Cayman Islands courthouse Friday to answer to charges of money laundering and concealing criminal property, stemming from his time as a Cayman Islands Football Association Executive Committee member.

Watson and Blake were arrested last month after an Anti‑Corruption Commission investigation that began in 2017.

Both were long‑ standing CIFA executives and had various roles at the Caribbean Football Union and CONCACAF as well.

If you value our service, if you have turned to us in the past few days or weeks for verified, factual updates, if you have watched our live streaming of press conferences or sent an article to a friend... please consider a donation. Quality local journalism was at risk before the coronavirus crisis. It is now deeply threatened. Even a small amount can go a long way to sustaining our mission of informing the public. We need our readers’ financial support now more than ever.