PORT OF SPAIN: Jack Warner’s claim earlier this week that he had no ownership interest in the Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence has been exploded by local media.
Documents viewed most recently by the Trinidad & Tobago Guardian show that the $22m football centre, built on just over seven acres of land, is jointly owned by two companies—CCAM and Co Ltd and Renraw Investments Ltd.
Renraw is “Warner” spelt backwards. The T&T Guardian is reporting that the company’s annual return for 2011 lists Warner, his wife, Maureen and son Daryan as directors of Renraw Ltd. Warner and Renraw also took out multi-million-dollar mortgages on the centre. The Centre of Excellence is the subject of a legal battle between FIFA, the world governing body for football, and Warner, the former president of CONCACAF and a subsidiary, the Caribbean Football Union.
FIFA said last month it plans to take legal steps to recover the ownership of the centre which it had largely funded. FIFA said the centre was signed over to Warner’s family firms. Warner has claimed that the centre belongs to the CFU but has not produced documents to prove it.
The T&T Guardian has also obtained a copy of a registered mortgage document, dated July 2007, which shows Warner was one of the borrowers. His family firm Renraw Investments Ltd is also listed, and Warner signed the statement as a director of Renraw. The property was mortgaged three times according to the official documents, firstly on August 10, 1998, for $2m, then on September 18 for US$475,000 and thirdly, in 2007 for $11m.
Warner signed the first and third mortgages.
The land on which the Centre of Excellence stands was first owned by West Indian Oil Industries Ltd, then acquired by Lever Brothers in 1963. It was transferred to Renraw Investments Ltd in March 1996. The centre, named after former Joao Havelange who was FIFA president when Warner became a FIFA vice-president, was opened in 1998.
The centre includes a swimming pool, a “garden sanctuary,” a fitness centre, a hotel, an 800-capacity theatre, a banquet and reception hall, and several other meeting halls. The Marvin Lee Stadium is also part of the centre.
A statement of charge related to a mortgage application and dated June 25, 2007, under Section 251 of the Companies Act, 1995 states: “Memorandum of Mortgage dated the 4th of June two thousand and seven made by CCAM and Company Ltd and Renraw Investments Ltd (Mortgagors) the said CCAM and Company Ltd, Renraw Investments Ltd, the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) CCAM and Company Ltd, Jack Austin Warner and the Dr Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence (the borrowers) in favour of First Citizens Bank Ltd.”
The Police Service Commission has indicated an inquiry is being undertaken urgently into apparently contradictory statements over whether Warner is still being investigated over potential irregularities connected with the notorious FIFA presidential campaign conference which he organised last year on behalf of Qatari Mohamed bin Hammam.
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