PORT OF SPAIN: The attempt by the United States Department of Justice to extradite Jack Warner on FIFAGate charges has been adjourned again until Friday writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Warner was a long-term vice-president of world football federation FIFA and president of the central/north American confederation CONCACAF as well as of a subsidiary, the Caribbean Football Union.
In May he was one of 14 men named by an indictment alleging money-laundering, bribery and conspiracy in a $150m fraud concerning commercial rights negotiated by both CONCACAF and its South American counterpart CONMEBOL.
Warner, a 71-year-old former Security Minister in the last Trinidad & Tobago government, was arrested in June and released on bail. He has denied all charges and insisted he will contest the attempt to extradite him to the US to face a court.
Last week a delaying element occurred after the defeat of the governing People’s Partnership by the People’s National Movement led to the removal of Garvin Nicholas as attorney-general. His successor, Faris Al-Rawi, then dismissed the lawyers who had been appointed originally to lead for the state in the case.
A magistrates court in Port of Spain today was told that Al-Rawi has signed documents allowing the extradition application against Warner to proceed.
However, his lawyers objected to Deputy Chief Magistrate Mark Wellington that Al-Rawi had missed a September 16 deadline for signing off on the documents. Hence Warner should be discharged.
James Lewis QC, for the state, opposed the discharge plea omn the grounds that this was a merely technicality and that the documents had been signed as required by law.
Wellington said he needed time to study the documents and adjourned the case to Friday.
Loretta Lynch, the US Attorney-General, said in Zurich last week that she was confident all targets of the corruption indictment would eventually be brought to court to stand trial. She also said that, in certain cases, a trial in absentia was possible.