US sends formal request for Jack Warner’s extradition
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad - United States officials yesterday formally requested the extradition of FIFA corruption accused Jack Warner.
Attorney General Garvin Nicholas made the announcement at a news conference, and indicated he would be examining the documentation and considering the evidence to decide whether the matter would proceed.
“It is important to decide whether there is a case to be answered, and if there is a case to be answered, then the authority to proceed will be granted; and if, in the attorney general’s discretion, there is not a case or sufficient evidence to proceed, then that is the discretion that will be exercised,” he said.
However, Nicholas declined to give a time frame for making a decision.
“This is, of course, a serious and substantial matter and must be given due time and attention,” he told reporters. “I will not put a time frame on my consideration time.”
Warner, 72, has been indicted in the US on racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy charges. He is one of 14 current and former top FIFA and soccer marketing executives who are accused of exploiting their positions to take more than US$150 million in bribes over a 24-year period.
The former FIFA vice-president has claimed he is innocent of all charges and plans to fight his extradition.
His legal fight comes amidst another battle – an election one – as the Independent Liberal Party, which he leads, campaigns ahead of the September 7 polls.
But the attorney general said politics would have no impact on his decision in the extradition matter.
“This matter has absolutely nothing to do with politics. This is an extradition request that was made by the United States government. We’ve dealt with several extraditions over the last few months,” he said.
“This is also a matter that does not only concern Mr. Warner. It concerns 14 persons that the Americans had asked to be extradited to the US to face charges. The state has gone about this – and certainly the office of the attorney general and all the players – have gone about this as professionally as possible, following the letter of the law and offering Mr. Warner and his team all due courtesies when possible.”
Once Nicholas makes a decision on whether to allow the matter to proceed, Warner’s legal team will be given the documents to peruse and a date will be set for the extradition trial.