By Andrew Warshaw
September 29 – Jack Warner, the most wanted man of all among powerbrokers snared by US authorities in the $200 million FifaGate corruption scandal, has lost a crucial round in his hitherto successful bid to avoid extradition from his native Trinidad and Tobago.
FIFA’s former senior vice-president is accused of 12 offences related to racketeering, corruption and money laundering, allegedly committed in the US and Trinidad and Tobago, dating as far back as 1990.
Warner has not left his homeland since the original arrests of FIFA officials by the US Department of Justice in May 2015 that brought FIFA to its knees. While others face imminent trial in the United States, Warner, the former long-time president of CONCACAF, has managed to slip through every legal loop as he sought a judicial review of the extradition process.
But now a 50-page ruling in the high court delivered by Justice James Aboud said extradition proceedings can proceed.
The judge conceded that Warner’s legal team had made some valid points, including the argument that the extradition treaty signed between his country and the United States did not conform with local extradition laws.
But this, he said, was not sufficient to quash the order. “If strict conformity is required, there would be no state in the world in which we could reciprocate,” said the judge.
Aboud agreed to a stay on the extradition proceedings to remain for 28 days to give Warner time to consider whether to appeal but US authorities will doubtless view the latest ruling as a significant breakthrough in bringing Warner to justice.
Way back in November 2015 Warner initiated judicial review proceedings against the Office of the Trinidad and Tobago attorney general in an attempt to block his extradition. Since then he has won a series of legal battles and is currently on $2.5 million bail.
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