Warner waits on Privy Council’s decision on extradition challenge

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Ex-FIFA vice president Jack Warner . –

Former FIFA vice president and government minister Jack Warner now has to wait on the Privy Council’s decision on his challenge to his extradition to the United States to face a barrage of fraud-related charges.

Extradition proceedings at the magistrates’ court in Trinidad have been stayed pending his legal challenges.

On Thursday, five Privy Council judges – Lords Hodge, Briggs, Hamblem, Burrows, and Sir Declan Morgan – reserved their decision on Warner’s challenge after hearing closing submissions from his attorney Clare Montgomery, QC.

Warner is challenging the process by which the extradition proceedings against him are being carried out and seeks to quash the authority to proceed (ATP) signed by the Attorney General in September 2015. This was after the US made its request to have the former football jefe extradited to face some 29 charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering. The US’s request was made on July 24, 2015.

After the 2015 general election, then-attorney general Faris Al-Rawi offered to allow Warner to make representations, but only on the condition the deadline for receipt of the ATP would be extended with his consent.

Warner refused to agree to the condition. His attorneys say he was not given sufficient time to make representations nor was he provided with disclosures of any evidence the US intended to use to secure his extradition.

The ATP gave the magistrate the green light to begin committal proceedings. Warner has also challenged the legality of the Extradition (Commonwealth and Foreign Territories) Act, and the treaty signed between this country and the US.

Warner surrendered to fraud squad officers on May 27, 2015, after learning of a provisional warrant for his arrest.

After the ATP was signed giving the go-ahead for extradition proceedings to start, Warner was banned from all football activities for life by FIFA.

He and 13 other FIFA officials were indicted in the US. Warner was also head of Concacaf.

According to the US charge sheet against him, Warner is accused of racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering, and bribery; and allegedly, from the early 1990s, “began to leverage his influence and exploit his official positions for personal gain.”

He also allegedly accepted a million-dollar bribe from South African officials in return for voting to award them the 2010 World Cup and allegedly bribed officials with envelopes each containing cash.

At the Privy Council, his attorneys complained about the way the matter had been handled and insisted that the law on extradition must be complied with.

Warner is also represented by Senior Counsel Fyard Hosein and attorneys Rishi Dass, Sasha Bridgemohansingh and Anil Maraj.

The State is led by James Lewis QC.