PORT OF SPAIN: Jack Warner, the man alleged down the years to have siphoned off football millions for his own gain, is pleading poverty in his fight to escape extradition to the United States.
The Trinidadian politician is wanted by the US Department of Justice to stand trial in New York in the $150m FIFAGate corruption case.
Warner quit football in 2011 rather than answer ethics charges concerning a cash-for-votes scandal in the world federation’s presidential campaign. He has lately been banned from football for life.
Now 72, Warner has set out his personal concerns in a High Court statement contesting the extradition application which has been lodged with the Trinidad and Tobago judicial authorities.
Warner is challenging the legitimacy of a decision by Attorney-General Faris Al-Rawi to approve the extradition process.
He said: “I am concerned that the amount of money it will take to defend myself in relation to these charges will drain all of my resources and leave me in a parlous financial state during my last years when I am found not guilty.”
He understood that the bail arrangements for others accused in the case were extremely high. He quoted reports from the Cayman Islands that Jeff Webb, a former business associate and predecessor as head of CONCACAF, was going “broke” in meeting his bail bond and complying with house arrest.
Warner is scheduled to return to court on Wednesday but the extradition process is likely to be held up for months and possibly years by his pursuit of a judicial review.
His legal team claim that the US application contravenes local extradition laws.
They also claim it would be unlawful for a person to be tried and punished in the requesting state for extra-territorial offences where such offences, had they occurred outside of TT in similar circumstances, would not have constituted an offence at home.
In his affidavit, Warner said since retiring from politics he had concentrated on business interests which included Jamad Maintenance Services, Multi Stores, Joe Public, Renraw Investments, East Bend Management, CCAM and Company Limited, Kantac and Sunshine Publishing Company.
Warner, who surrendered himself to Fraud Squad officers on May 27, after learning of the provisional warrant is currently on $2.5 million bail.