PORT OF SPAIN: Jack Warner, disgraced former president of CONCACAF, has settled a defamation suit out of order so as to concentrate of fighting extradition to the United States over the FIFAGate corruption scandal writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Warner headed the central and north American confederation between 199o and 2011 and was a vice-president of world federation before walking out of football after bribery allegations concerning the presidential election that year.
Later Warner was banned from all football by the FIFA ethics committee and was indicted by the United States Justice Department over fraud and money-laundering allegations concerning more than 40 individuals and companies involved in in Latin American football.
Warner has always denied any wrongdoing and is contesting an application from the US DoJ for his extradition to New York to stand trial. Two of his sons have already pleaded guilty to FIFAGate charges as has the former CONCACAF general secretary Chuck Blazer, a long-time associate of Warner and fellow member of the FIFA executive committee.
Now Warner has agreed to pay $375,000 in damages, interest and costs to settle a three-year-old defamation action launched by Trinidad MP Suruj Rambachan.
Warner told local media: “I don’t want myself to be distracted by these petty issues and have it go on for another three years. This was a legal distraction, it was petty and I felt no point in burdening the court, I want to focus on one matter and that is my extradition matter.”
Earlier this year, Warner settled a defamation lawsuit filed by former government minister Devant Maharaj. He also then used the need to focus on the extradition case as his reason for clearing the legal decks.
Last year, Justice Robin Mohammed ordered Warner to pay former attorney general Anand Ramlogan almost $900,000 in damages for defamation and, in 2014, Warner was ordered to pay $275,000 in compensation to Faaiq Mohammed, a local councillor whom he had accused of taking a bribe.