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CONCACAF launch probe over Suriname vice-president game

·2-min read
Ronnie Brunswijk, the 60-year-old vice president of Suriname, picked himself to play in a CONCACAF League game on Tuesday (AFP/Louis ALFAISIE)

CONCACAF said Wednesday it had opened a disciplinary investigation in the wake of Suriname vice-president Ronnie Brunswijk's bizarre appearance in a regional club competition.

Brunswijk, the 60-year-old owner of Inter Moengotapoe, picked himself in the starting line-up for his team's CONCACAF League match against CD Olimpia of Honduras in Paramaribo on Tuesday.

Video circulated widely on social media following the game -- which saw Inter thrashed 6-0 -- showed Brunswijk appearing to distribute cash to Olimpia players in their locker room following the match.

"We are extremely concerned at the content of a video circulating on social media which raises potential integrity issues surrounding the CONCACAF League match between Inter Moengotapoe and CD Olimpia," CONCACAF, the regional governing body for football in North America, Central America and the Caribbean said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The matter is being referred to the CONCACAF Disciplinary Committee who will commence a formal investigation and a further update will be provided when that process has concluded."

Brunswijk played for 54 minutes in Inter's defeat on Tuesday, appearing alongside Damian Brunswijk -- who happens to be his son.

The episode is just the latest in Brunswijk's colourful life and times. A former army sergeant and ex-rebel leader, Brunswijk participated in Suriname's civil war in the 1980s against then-dictator Desi Bouterse.

Today Brunswijk is a wealthy businessman as well as a politician, but in 1999 he was found guilty in absentia of drug trafficking and sentenced to eight years in prison by a court in the Netherlands, Suriname's former colonial ruler.

A French court found him guilty for the same crime and in 2000 sentenced him to 10 years prison.

Brunswijk however is safe at home, as Suriname does not extradite its citizens.

First elected to parliament in 2005, Brunswijk formed an alliance with the head of the main political opposition, former justice minister Chandrikapersad Santokhi.

Brunswijk will not join in his team's second leg game in Honduras, since he cannot leave the country without risk of facing legal trouble.


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