News Americas, PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Fri. Nov. 18, 2022: A defiant former FIFA vice-president said Thursday he would continue to fight his extradition to the United States to answer corruption charges, even after London’s Privy Council ruled that the extradition proceedings are not unlawful.
Trinidad and Tobago born Austin ‘Jack’ Warner, the former football administrator, businessman and politician, also defended the decision by football’s world governing body FIFA, of which he is a former vice-president, to give preference to South Africa, Russia and Qatar to host World Cup Finals. The award of the 2018 World Cup Final to Russia was among the issues at the centre of corruption allegations against the 79-year-old Warner who is facing 12 charges of wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering.
Earlier in the day, the Privy Council, Trinidad and Tobago’s highest court of appeal, dismissed Warner’s lawyers’ contention that the extradition proceedings in the magistrate’s court here were unlawful, thus paving the way for the matter to resume.
“I continue to have confidence in my team led by Fyard Hosein Senior Counsel, and I have advised them to continue to press my case on the three remaining stages of these proceedings,” Warner said in a post on his Facebook page on Thursday morning, following the Privy Council ruling. “I have lived in this country for nearly eighty years, and I am confident that I will continue to receive the love, affection, and respect that people from all walks of life have always extended to me. I am certain I will prevail in the end.”
The court in London, Trinidad and Tobago’s highest appeal court, dismissed Warner’s lawyers’ contention that the extradition proceedings were unlawful. This paves the way for the proceedings in the twin-island republic’s magistrate court to resume.
Warner had challenged the procedure of the extradition proceedings – following the US request, on July 24, 2015, for him to face charges of wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering – as well as the authority to proceed (ATP) granted by the Attorney General in September that year which gave the court the authority to begin the proceedings.
Warner, who also served as CONCACAF president, was indicted in May 2015. US prosecutors allege that from as far back as 1990, he leveraged his influence and exploited his official positions for personal gain.
Among other things, the 79-year-old former football administrator is accused of receiving $5 million in bribes – sent via more than two dozen separate wire transfers, from 10 different shell companies, to a Caribbean Football Union account he controlled at Republic Bank in Trinidad and Tobago – to vote for Russia to host the 2018 World Cup.
Warner was one of 14 defendants charged in connection with the 24-year scheme that prosecutors alleged was designed to “enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer”.
In 2015, FIFA banned him from all soccer-related activities for life.