iLocal News Archives

UPDATE: Canover Watson found guilty on 5 charges – receives 7 years jail sentence/Former FIFA watchdog member Watson jailed for seven years

Former FIFA watchdog member Watson jailed for seven years


A former member of world soccer body FIFA’s financial watchdog has been sentenced to seven years in prison in the Cayman Islands after being found guilty of fraud, his lawyer said.

Canover Watson, who was a member of FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee, was found guilty of five charges related to his time in charge of the Caribbean nation’s Health Service Authority (HSA), according to the Cayman Island’s Anti-Corruption Commission, which had led the investigation.

While the charges were not football-related, the verdict against a man who served on a body which monitored FIFA’s finances is another blow to the image of the organisation facing an unprecedented corruption crisis.

A statement from the Anti-Corruption Commission said the 45-year-old Watson was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to defraud, fraud on the government, conflict of interest and breach of trust by a public official. He was found not guilty of a money-laundering charge. None of the cases related to soccer.

Watson’s attorney Ben Tonner confirmed local media reports that his client had been sentenced to seven years in prison.

Watson was suspended from the FIFA watchdog in September 2014 pending the outcome of the case. He had also been treasurer of the Cayman Islands Football Association and was a vice-president of the Caribbean Football Union.

Another Cayman football official, Jeffrey Webb, a former FIFA vice president and president of the CONCACAF, the confederation covering North and Central America and the Caribbean, has also been charged in the case but has yet to face trial.

Webb is currently in the United States having pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, three counts of wire fraud conspiracy and three counts of money laundering conspiracy as part of the Department of Justice’s investigation into FIFA which has seen 41 individuals and entities indicted.

The Cayman Compass newspaper reported that Justice Michael Mettyear told Watson during sentencing: “You behaved shamelessly … falsifying presentations, letters, emails, contracts and signatures … you fooled a number of senior civil servants and possibly a minister.”

Watson’s senior defence counsel, Trevor Burke QC, said his client had been “ruined”.

“Canover Watson’s fall from grace is now complete,” the newspaper said.

(Reporting By Simon Evans; editing by Ralph Boulton)

For more on this story go to:


UPDATED: Canover Watson (45) was handed down a a seven-year sentence in HMP Northward by Justice Michael Mettyea Friday (5) morning.

The judge said Watson acted out of greed when he delivered his sentencing of  concurrent seven-year terms for the conspiracy convictions and three-year terms for the counts of conflict of interest and breach of trust.


Canover Watson was found guilty late Thursday (4) afternoon of four of the five charges all connected with corruption in connection with the CarePay hospital contract scheme. These were two counts of conspiracy to defraud, one count of conflict of interest, and one count of fraud on government. The fifth charge was of breaching his trust as a public official in the Cayman Islands.

Watson was found Not Guilty of money laundering.

Watson was lead out of the court in handcuffs by police officers into a police car. He was ordered to be remanded in custody until his sentencing hearing scheduled for Friday (5) at 10:30am.

Press Release by the Anti-Corruption Commission

Following his arrest on 28 August 2014 Mr. Canover Watson, a 45 year old businessman from the Prospect area, has been found guilty today, 4 February 2016, by a jury of his peers of the following five counts:

Two counts of Conspiracy to Defraud contrary to Common Law;
One count of Conflict of Interest contrary to sections 19(2) and 19(3) Anti-Corruption Law 2008;
One count of Fraud on the Government contrary to section 11(1)(c) Anti-Corruption Law 2008; and
One count of Breach of Trust contrary to section 13 Anti-Corruption Law, 2008.

Mr. Watson was found not guilty of one count of Transferring Criminal Property contrary to section 133(1)(d) of the Proceeds of Crime Law (2008 Revision).

Mr. Watson has been remanded into custody. Sentencing proceedings will take place at 10:30a on 5 February 2016.

The charges relate to Mr. Watson’s involvement in the CarePay Scheme whilst he served as Chairman of the Health Services Board between 1st August 2010 and 31st December 2013.

The investigation in this case was performed by members of the Anti-Corruption Unit (“the Unit”) of the Anti-Corruption Commission (“the Commission”) with assistance from Officers of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (“the RCIPS”).

The investigation was a protracted and complicated one during which the Investigators of the Unit worked methodically and tirelessly interviewing witnesses, analyzing, assessing and recording data in order to progress the investigation to the point where Mr. Watson, and others, could be charged and prosecuted for these crimes.

The concerns which resulted in the investigation of Mr. Watson, and others, were brought to the Commission’s attention by individuals who took an active stand against corruption in the Cayman Islands. The Commission wishes to take this opportunity to extend our gratitude to these persons who assisted our Investigators during the course of its investigation. In addition, the Commission would like to recognise the hard work and efforts of the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. Patrick Moran, and his team.

The Commission has continually reiterated the importance of the role of public officials and the positions of trust assigned to those roles. The Commission will continue to do its part to hold accountable those public officials who do not perform their duties honestly or with integrity and subsequently break the Law.



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *