By Andrew Warshaw
June 20 – Disgraced former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner continues to defy attempts by the United States judiciary to have him extradited over the FIFA corruption scandal as so many other ex-powerbrokers have been.
Warner, former president of CONCACAF, is one of the highest profile names in central and south America brought down by the $150 million scandal after being accused of bribery for the best part of two decades.
Prosecutors in the US had hoped to bring those indicted to trial this month but that always seemed an optimistic time scale even though it is over a year since the first arrests were made the during that dramatic swoop on the exclusive Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich where FIFA’s top brass stay.
Trinidad’s Attorney General had approved an original extradition request but Warner appealed and during the weekend, in the Port-of-Spain High Court, a local judge threw out an application by the United States government to intervene in a judicial review lawsuit brought by Warner.
As part of his ruling Justice James Aboud even ordered the US to pay Warner’s legal costs over its failed extradition application. Speaking briefly with reporters, Warner said he was happy with the decision, which he described as a “victory for the sovereignty of T&T”.
“Ironically the US has to pay me. It’s long overdue,” Warner added in typically defiant manner.
Warner, in his legal claim, is questioning the procedure adopted by the Office of the Attorney General in signing off on the original request for his extradition despite the fact that he is facing 12 counts of fraud and money-laundering over more than 20 years.
Warner’s attorneys are alleging that this country’s extradition treaty with the US contradicts the Extradition (Commonwealth and Foreign Territories) Act. They are claiming that, in passing the act, Parliament afforded citizens certain protections which over-ride any international treaties.
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