A member of FIFA’s eight member audit and compliance committee – the financial watchdog set up in 2012 to ‘ensure the completeness and reliability’ of the finances of footballs’ world governing body – has been temporarily suspended following his arrest on alleged corruption and money laundering charges.

Canover Watson, 43 years old, serves as Vice President of the Caribbean Football Union and is a businessman based in the Cayman Islands. He is also a close friend of another Cayman Islands resident Jeffrey Webb, the president of CONCACAF, the confederation of footballing nations from Central and North America and the Caribbean. Mr Watson denies the allegations he is facing, which became public when he was arrested on August 28 by members of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Anti-Corruption Unit. He has been released on bail and ordered to report back to the police on September 29.

The police issued a statement detailing the basis of Watson’s arrest: “Suspicion of breach of trust contrary to section 13 of the Cayman Islands Anti-Corruption Law, as well as abuse of public office… and conflict of interest”, in addition to “suspicion of money laundering contrary to section 133 of the Proceeds of Crime Law”.

Watson himself released the following statement, denying the charges against him: “I make this brief statement following my arrest in relation to suspected offenses contrary to the Anti-Corruption Law. The allegations are denied. In due course, at the proper time and in the appropriate forum, I look forward to setting out my position in greater detail. For present purposes since the police investigation is ongoing, I have been advised by my attorneys that it would be inappropriate for me to make further comment.”

The head of FIFA’s audit and compliance committee, Domenico Scala, announced that Watson was to be suspended whilst the investigation is ongoing, despite the fact that no connection has been established, or claimed, between the alleged crimes and Watson’s football related activities.  The full statement released by FIFA read as follows: “After a preliminary clarification of the facts of the case and the allegations of the Cayman Island investigating authorities against Canover Watson, no connection with football and/or his role at association level has been established at this stage. The investigation continues. The chairman has decided to temporarily relieve until further notice Canover Watson, to whom the presumption of innocence applies, of his duties on the FIFA audit and compliance committee. This should not be regarded as routine procedure, because cases like this or of this nature must always be assessed on their individual merits.”

The precise allegations refer back to the time which Watson spent as the head of Cayman’s Health Service Authority, and centre upon an investigation into a 2010 contract relating to the supply of swipe card billing technology to the island’s hospitals.

The financial watchdog from which Watson has been suspended was created as part of a raft of anti-corruption measures carried out by FIFA in the wake of bribery and vote-buying scandals being linked to high ranking officials such as Jack Warner, former head of CONCACAF, who resigned amidst some controversy in 2011.