PtG Article 12.09.2012

World Sports Group sues journalist in bid to squash reporting on Bin Hammam

The Singapore-based World Sports Group (WSG) has begun legal proceedings against journalist James M. Dorsey in an attempt to silence sources and stop his reporting on the WSG and its connection to the scandals surrounding the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and Mohammed bin Hammam, the former AFC president currently under investigation for corruption.

On his blog ‘The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer´, Dorsey has reported extensively on the web of scandals that cover both FIFA and the AFC with bin Hammam at the core. 

His reporting has included a report from a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) audit of the AFC, which has uncovered unexplained payments to bin Hammam from a WSG shareholder, the International Sports Events (ISE), prior to the signing of a controversial marketing rights contract with the AFC. The report also raised questions about why the WSG was chosen and the terms and negotiation of the contract.

WSG initiated the legal proceedings after Dorsey disclosed details of the PwC report revealing payments to bin Hammam, quoted sources close to the AFC questioning the WSG contract and revealed that Malaysian police had opened an investigation into the theft of documents related to one of the payments.

WSG, which has threatened other journalists with defamation proceedings, is asking the Singapore High Court to order Dorsey to reveal whether and what internal AFC documents he may have in his possession and who his sources are. This information would allow WSG to begin legal action against Dorsey and his sources on charges of breach of confidentiality and defamation.

The hearing is scheduled to take place on 28 September 2012. 

Read the full statement by James M. Dorsey on his blog