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Court Rules Extradition Process for FIFA Corruption Accused Jack Warner Can Proceed
Disgraced football executive Jack Warner
Disgraced former FIFA vice-president Austin ‘Jack’ Warner is among former executives of football’s governing body who United States prosecutors say accepted bribes in exchange for Russia and Qatar World Cup votes.
A new indictment unsealed in the US District Court in Brooklyn on Monday, after a long-running FBI investigation, alleges that representatives working for Russia and Qatar paid corrupt officials to secure hosting rights, and Warner, former CONCACAF boss, received US$5 million for his backing of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The money allegedly came from 10 different shell companies, including entities in Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.
The now late Nicolás Leoz, who had been president of the South American governing body, CONMEBOL, and the former Brazil federation president Ricardo Teixeira received bribes to vote for Qatar at the 2010 FIFA executive committee meeting, prosecutors say.
The allegations come in the indictment charging three media executives – former 21st Century Fox Inc. executives Hernan Lopez and Carlos Martinez, former Imagina Media Audiovisual CEO Gerard Romy – and Uruguayan sports marketing company Full Play Group SA, in connection with bribes to secure television rights for the tournaments. They are charged with wire fraud, money laundering and racketeering conspiracy.
In a statement, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office, William F Sweeney Jr., said: “The profiteering and bribery in international soccer have been deep-seated and commonly known practices for decades.”
“Over a period of many years, the defendants and their co-conspirators corrupted the governance and business of international soccer with bribes and kickbacks, and engaged in criminal fraudulent schemes that caused significant harm to the sport of soccer. Their schemes included the use of shell companies, sham consulting contracts and other concealment methods to disguise the bribes and kickback payments and make them appear legitimate,” he added.
Back in September 2015, FIFA banned Warner from taking part in any kind of football-related activity at national and international level, for life.
The decision was taken on the basis of investigations carried out by the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee following its report on the inquiry into the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup bidding process. The 77-year-old Warner was found to have committed various acts of misconduct continuously and repeatedly during his time as an official in different high-ranking and influential positions at FIFA and CONCACAF. FIFA said that in his positions as a football official, he was a key player in schemes involving the offer, acceptance, and receipt of undisclosed and illegal payments, as well as other money-making schemes.
Warner has been fighting extradition to the US since he was charged in 2015 with 12 offences related to racketeering, corruption and money laundering.
US justice officials alleged, among other things, that he received three payments totaling US$10 million in 2008 from an unidentified, high-ranking FIFA official to secure his vote and help give South Africa the right to host the 2010 World Cup over Morocco.
Another Delay In Jack Warner’s Extradition Battle A TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO JUDGE SAYS THE EXTRADITION PROCESS AGAINST JACK WARNER CAN RESUME.
Jack Warner has lost a crucial round in his fight against his extradition to the United States to face fraud charges in the high-profile FIFA corruption scandal.
A judge in Trinidad and Tobago has dismissed Warner’s application for judicial review of the decision by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi to sign off on an Authority to Proceed (ATP) which gave the green light for extradition proceedings against the former FIFA vice-president to commence.
Justice James Aboud said the process in the magistrate court – which was on hold pending the outcome of Warner’s application for judicial review – can resume. But he also gave a 28-day stay to give Warner’s legal team the opportunity to appeal the decision.
In a 50-page ruling, the judge agreed with Warner’s lawyers – Senior Counsel Fyard Hosein, Rishi Dass, Sasha Bridgemohansingh and Anil Maraj – that the extradition treaty signed between Trinidad and Tobago and the US did not conform with local extradition laws, but said that was not sufficient grounds to stop the extradition process.
Aboud said even though there was some non-conformity between the treaty and the domestic extradition laws, it 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,” he said.
Warner was one of several current or former FIFA officials indicted in the US court in May 2015.
He is accused of racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering and bribery. It is alleged, among other things, that he began to leverage his influence and exploit his official positions in FIFA for personal gain from the early 1990s; accepted a US$10 million bribe from South African officials in return for voting to award them the 2010 World Cup; and bribed officials with envelopes each containing US$40,000 in cash.
US blanked in Jack Warner extradition judicial review
Jack Warner and his legal team will have to wait until the New Year to persuade the law courts to overturn a decision by Attorney General Faris Al Rawi to sign off on a United States request for his extradition to face charges related to the FIFA bribery scandal.
Attorneys from both sides, who have completed all pre-trial matters, were expecting the Port of Spain High Court to set trial dates for the case yesterday, but Justice James Aboud adjourned the matter until March 13, 2017. He told the legal team his hands were tied because of an application filed by the United States to intervene in the matter.
“The thing is, it may be that this application is retarding the momentum of this case a bit. It may not be intentional, but we are being held back,” he said.
Washington is asking the Appeal Court to make it an interested party in the lawsuit, so it can make submissions in the case, separate from those being made by the Attorney General’s office, which is representing its interests.
The Appeal Court reserved judgment on the matter last month.
Justice Aboud was optimistic that the ruling would be handed down before Warner’s matter comes up on March 13.
Warner’s challenge claims that the Attorney General failed to give his attorneys a fair opportunity to make a case on his behalf before he signed the extradition request.
Warner also alleges the Trinidad’s Extradition Act afforded citizens certain protections that are overlooked by the country’s extradition treaty with the US.
US officials want the former football administrator to be extradited to face charges of racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering, bribery. It is alleged that from the early 1990s, he “began to leverage his influence and exploit his official positions for personal gain”.
Some of the specific allegations are that he accepted a US$10 million bribe from South African officials in return for voting to award them the 2010 World Cup; and that he bribed officials with envelopes each containing US$40,000 in cash.
Jack Warner claims 6Million FIFA gift was to back Blatter <+> National Security Minister of Trinidad, Jack Warner quits
A High Court judge in Trinidad and Tobago has denied United States authorities a chance to join the judicial review lawsuit brought by FIFA corruption accused Jack Warner.
Warner, through his attorneys, is challenging the decision by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi to sign off on an extradition request from the US Justice Department which is trying to get the former FIFA vice-president to face racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering, bribery charges. He was one of several current or former FIFA officials indicted in May.
The US had sought permission to join the judicial review matter, arguing that it has a vested interest in any issue related to Warner’s extradition.
But Justice James Aboud ruled on Friday that while the US has an interest in the outcome of the case, its interest would be adequately dealt with by the Office of the Attorney General and there was nothing new it could add to the case.
“The applicant will not be bringing to court any different perspective or new evidence as to make its contribution useful,” he said.
“What can it say differently from the AG? It cannot be to say the same thing, differently. Is the AG’s position different from the US? Does the AG want the US to say something he won’t say? It must be able to offer something more than repetition.”
Justice Aboud also ordered the US to pay Warner’s legal costs in defending the application.
Warner called the ruling a victory for the sovereignty of the twin-island republic.
The US has two weeks to appeal the decision.
There is currently a stay on the extradition proceedings which began in the magistrate’s court, until Justice Aboud gives a final ruling in the application for judicial review.
Warner is accused of 29 counts of racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering, bribery. It is alleged that he began to leverage his influence and exploit his official positions in FIFA for personal gain from the early 1990s; accepted a US$10 million bribe from South African officials in return for voting to award them the 2010 World Cup; and bribed officials with envelopes each containing US$40,000 in cash.
Disgraced former football official Jack Warner claims FIFA gave him a gift of $6 million toward a training centre in Trinidad to support Sepp Blatter's first election as president in 1998.
Warner says a May 1998 deal with then-FIFA President Joao Havelange ensured total backing from the CONCACAF region for Blatter, in what shaped as a tight contest against Lennart Johansson weeks later.
"Blatter would never have seen the light of day as president of FIFA," without 30 CONCACAF votes, Warner said in a speech distributed to international media yesterday.
It's the latest attack on FIFA since Warner promised a "tsunami" of revelations after the then-FIFA vice-president was implicated in a bribery scandal while opposing Blatter's latest election two years ago.
Warner's claim details his controversial ownership of the Trinidad Centre of Excellence, now valued at $22.5 million, which led an integrity panel, last week, to accuse him of fraudulently managing the body running football in North and Central America and the Caribbean.
Warner hit back late Thursday in a speech to his Trinidad constituents, days after resigning from the island's government amid the latest football scandal, to implicate the longtime FIFA power broker.
He also published letters apparently showing Havelange agreed to convert FIFA's loan of $6 million into a donation to him and the Caribbean Football Union.
"I told Havelange that, through him, Blatter will get CONCACAF's total support," Warner said. "Blatter had been at this time the most hated FIFA official by both the European and African confederations.
"I was Blatter's idol then and he was mine."
FIFA declined to comment in detail "on any allegations made by Jack Warner".
"In general, anyone who has any substantiated allegations to make is welcome to address such allegations to the relevant bodies at FIFA, including the independent Ethics Committee," FIFA said in a statement.
Warner's version of saving the election for Blatter doesn't entirely match a widely reported account, which involves African delegates switching sides just ahead of the June 8, 1998, vote in Paris.
Johansson, then UEFA president, was expected to be a strong candidate in the election to replace Havelange based mainly on widespread support across Europe and Africa, and some voters in Asia.
The Swedish official declined to contest a second ballot required by FIFA election rules after Blatter had a 111-80 victory in the first.
British author David Yallop wrote in a book published in 1999 that up to 20 Africans were paid by Middle East interests to abandon their promised support for Johansson, which would probably have given him 100 votes and momentum to beat Blatter in the second ballot.
Warner, who hopes to revive his political career in Trinidad, could yet face legal action from CONCACAF and FIFA over his ownership.
Havelange, who is still FIFA honorary president at 97, could face sanctions sooner. FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert is expected to give rulings within days in an investigation into a World Cup kickbacks scandal implicating Havelange in taking millions of dollars in improper payments.
“The motion is to embarrass the prime minister,” said an emotional Warner, adding “at the end of the day, I have nothing to say...my private activities are mine”.
“I breached no law in Trinidad and Tobago, not a single law,” Warner said, insisting that “every criticism, every allegation against me has been in the public domain for the last 20 years”.
Warner, 70, who resigned from his Cabinet post over the last weekend and announced his resignation from the Parliament on Friday, dismissed suggestions that FIFA, the world governing body of which he was once served as vice president for nearly two decades, was a mafia establishment.
“I want to apologise for him saying FIFA is a mafia,” Warner said to desk thumping from his government colleague legislators, insisting “FIFA business has nothing to do with the business of the state”.
Earlier, Opposition Leader, Dr. Keith Rowley, said the report of the CONCACAF Integrity Committee, headed by prominent Barbadian jurist Sir David Simmons, highlighted what had been in the public domain for several years regarding the activities of the former government minister.
In its report, released in Panama last weekend, the CONCACAF Integrity Committee slammed as "fraudulent in their management” the conduct of the soccer confederation's affairs by Warner, who headed the body for 20 years, and American Chuck Blazer, who served as general secretary.
Neither Warner nor Blazer cooperated with the investigation.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar Sunday night announced that her embattled National Security Minister Austin “Jack” Warner has resigned less than 72 hours after the publication of a report by the CONCACAF Integrity Committee that had been very critical of the former international football boss.
“I have today accepted the resignation of the Minister of National Security Mr. Jack Warner from the Cabinet of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
“I wish to thank Mr. Warner for his service to the government and people of Trinidad and Tobago,” she said.
In a brief statement, following an emergency Cabinet meeting at her private home at Phillipine, south of here, Prime Minister Persad Bissessar said that she had advised President Anthony Carmona “to revoke the appointment of Mr. Warner” and appoint Works and Infrastructure Minister Emmanuel George as the new national security minister.
She said Local Government Minister Suruj Rambachan will take over George’s portfolio.
Warner’s removal from the Cabinet followed widespread calls for Prime Minister Persad Bissessar to act immediately on the contents of the report of the CONCACAF Integrity Committee that was released in Panama on Friday. Neither Warner nor Blazer cooperated with the investigation.
The Congress of the People (COP), the second biggest partner in the four-party coalition People’s Partnership government, said that Warner, who served as CONCACF president for nearly two decades, should either step down or be removed..