US blanked in Jack Warner extradition judicial review
PORT OF SPAIN – A High Court judge in Trinidad and Tobago has denied United States authorities a chance to join the judicial review lawsuit brought by FIFA corruption accused Jack Warner.
Warner, through his attorneys, is challenging the decision by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi to sign off on an extradition request from the US Justice Department which is trying to get the former FIFA vice-president to face racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering, bribery charges. He was one of several current or former FIFA officials indicted in May.
The US had sought permission to join the judicial review matter, arguing that it has a vested interest in any issue related to Warner’s extradition.
But Justice James Aboud ruled on Friday that while the US has an interest in the outcome of the case, its interest would be adequately dealt with by the Office of the Attorney General and there was nothing new it could add to the case.
“The applicant will not be bringing to court any different perspective or new evidence as to make its contribution useful,” he said.
“What can it say differently from the AG? It cannot be to say the same thing, differently. Is the AG’s position different from the US? Does the AG want the US to say something he won’t say? It must be able to offer something more than repetition.”
Justice Aboud also ordered the US to pay Warner’s legal costs in defending the application.
Warner called the ruling a victory for the sovereignty of the twin-island republic.
The US has two weeks to appeal the decision.
There is currently a stay on the extradition proceedings which began in the magistrate’s court, until Justice Aboud gives a final ruling in the application for judicial review.
Warner is accused of 29 counts of racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering, bribery. It is alleged that he began to leverage his influence and exploit his official positions in FIFA for personal gain from the early 1990s; accepted a US$10 million bribe from South African officials in return for voting to award them the 2010 World Cup; and bribed officials with envelopes each containing US$40,000 in cash.