May 3 – The extradition case of former Concacaf president and FIFA vice president Jack Warner took another step forward last week with the UK Privy Council hearing closing arguments from Warner’s legal team.
Indicted on 29 charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering in May 2015 by the US Department of Justice as part of its investigation into FIFA, Warner has remained in his home country of Trinidad and Tobago while his extradition to the US has been stayed.
In September 2015 the Trinidad and Tobago Attorney General signed an Authority to Proceed (ATP) with Warner’s extradition.
Warner challenged the extradition process against him and is seeking to quash the ATP. In 2015 then-attorney general Faris Al-Rawi offered to allow Warner to make representations in his defence against extradition but only if he agreed a deadline on his submission.
Warner refused to agree to the condition with his attorneys arguing he was not given procedural fairness as he was not given enough time to make his defence, and that he had not been provided with disclosures of any evidence the US intended to use to secure his extradition.
Warner argues that the attorney general did not act within the constitutional laws of Trinidad and Tobago.
Warner is also challenging the legality of the Extradition (Commonwealth and Foreign Territories) Act, and the treaty signed between Trinidad and Tobago and the US.
The UK Privy Council is the final decision maker on Warner’s appeal, having exhausted all his legal appeal channels in Trinidad – his last appeal being dismissed in Trinidad in June 2019.
The charges against Warner are extensive and stem back the early 1990s when “began to leverage his influence and exploit his official positions for personal gain.”
Included in those charges is a $10 million payment from South Africa made before their successful bid for the 2010 World Cup. The South Africans said the money was a solidarity payment for the African diaspora in the Caribbean. The allegations are that it was a bribe made to secure Warner’s influence and votes on the old FIFA Executive Committee to award them the 2010 World Cup.
Warner is a major figure in the FIFAgate corruption scandal and the racketeering case brought by the US DoJ against the world governing body. The US have been keen to get hold of Warner on the 29 charges he has been indicted for, but also because he is believed to be the key to unlocking an even deeper and wider level of corruption within FIFA, and in particular its former president Sepp Blatter.
Warner was in the news again last week over a claim he has over what he maintains is a TT$22 million debt owed by the Trinidad and Tobago FA. His claim is still to be validated by the trustee of the TTFA under the country’s insolvency act, though it has been lodged at court. There is no detail to what Warner’s claim is for.
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