FIFA presidential candidate defends donations to Haiti

Seoul, Aug 20 (IANS) FIFA presidential candidate Chung Mong-joon said on Wednesday that payments he made to Haiti were “charitable donations” following the 2010 earthquake which ravaged the country.

Chung was responding to media reports that world football’s governing body was investigating the South Korean billionaire over the “disaster relief” funds.

The earthquake in Haiti claimed the lives of more than 200,000 people and affected an estimated three million.

“Recent media reports allege that FIFA has started an investigation into FIFA Honorary Vice President Dr. Chung Mong-Joon’s 2010 donations to disaster relief funds to Haiti and Pakistan,” Chung said in a statement.

“If these reports are true, we condemn this as a cynical and unethical effort by FIFA to misrepresent even charitable donations for political manipulation.”

Chung formally launched his bid to replace Sepp Blatter as FIFA president in Paris earlier this week.

His entry into the FIFA presidential race came with a stinging attack on Blatter and Michel Platini, head of Europe’s ruling body UEFA and a rival candidate for the FIFA presidency.

“As chairman of the Asan Foundation, the largest philanthropic organization in Korea, Dr. Chung also helped the foundation provide medical assistance to victims of the Indonesian tsunami, 2005 Pakistan earthquake, and Sri Lankan tsunami,” the statement said.

“In January 2010, as chairman of the ruling Grand National Party in the Korean National Assembly, Dr. Chung also announced at a party meeting he would personally donate money to earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.”

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