FirstCaribbean bank begins internal review after FIFA bribes scandal

TORONTO (Reuters) - CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank has begun an internal review to find out whether or not the bank was used for illicit purposes in the FIFA bribery scandal, a spokeswoman said on Monday. An indictment announced by U.S. prosecutors on May 27 said one illegal payment was facilitated by a representative of FirstCaribbean, which is controlled by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. The bank representative travelled from the Bahamas to New York to personally collect and deposit a check on behalf of Chuck Blazer, a former FIFA executive who is the main cooperating witness in the investigation of soccer's world governing body, prosecutors said. CIBC FirstCaribbean spokeswoman Debra King said from Bridgetown, Barbados that the bank has not been contacted by any law enforcement agency about the FIFA investigation. "We have initiated our own review in light of this matter and we will continue to take all appropriate steps towards ensuring that our bank is never used for illicit purposes," King said. "Our policy is to cooperate with all law enforcement agencies." A global group of government anti-money laundering agencies said financial institutions have not done enough to police suspicious financial activity by officials at FIFA, and cautioned banks to step up scrutiny. Nine current and former FIFA officials and five business executives were indicted last month on criminal charges involving $150 million in bribes linked to major tournaments over 24 years. FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced days later on June 2 that he would step down. CIBC FirstCaribbean has branches in 17 Caribbean markets, according to its website. It was formed in 2002 by Britain's Barclays and CIBC. The Canadian lender became the bank's majority shareholder in 2006. (Reporting by John Tilak and Euan Rocha; Editing by Grant McCool)