Warner’s extradition legal fees case likely to go to trial in 2025

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Jack Warner – File photo

FORMER FIFA vice president Jack Warner’s challenge against the permanent secretary of the Office of the Attorney General for failing to disclose all invoices, fee requisitions and payments to “all barristers, solicitors and attorneys” in ongoing extradition proceedings against him is likely to go to trial in July 2025.

On June 26, Justice Karen Reid set the tentative trial date of July 10, 2025, as she noted Warner’s claims, in response to information already given to him by the ministry, that there were discrepancies in the evidence.

She has also set dates for striking out applications and for cross-examination. At the virtual hearing, Warner’s attorney Richard Jaggasar noted that the redacted invoices provided were at variance with the figures provided.

Warner contends from the information provided, payment to seven attorneys has amounted to $6.9 million. However, the redacted invoices account for $6,022.481.25.

On March 21, Justice Karen Reid said it was the court’s view that the issues raised by Warner could only be resolved at a trial after he was permitted to file his claim for judicial review.

In his lawsuit, he contends that he should receive unredacted documents for all the attorneys for the State in the extradition matter.

“These are monies spent from the public purse so the taxpayers have a right to know,” Warner said in an affidavit filed on March 15.

He accused the permanent secretary of “obfuscation,” since he received some information, but then received redacted information padded with triplicates and duplicates.

In a freedom-of-information request in July 2023, Warner wanted to know how much money was spent to hire attorneys to extradite him to the US, where he faces 29 charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering while he was vice president of football’s world governing body.

The information relates to all the court matters from 2015-2023, including the committal proceedings in the magistrates’ court and the application to join the US in previous proceedings in the High Court and Court of Appeal, the Privy Council proceedings, as well as his referral application to the High Court.

In October 2023, Warner was told there were no “sufficiently strong public interests” to release the information. The permanent secretary also said these interests would be best served by refusing access to the invoices and fee requisitions for the law firms at each stage of the legal proceedings and preserving attorney/client privilege.

Warner then applied for judicial review in December.

Initially refused his FOI request, Warner received some information. One of two responses from the AG’s office gave a list of six attorneys and the $6.5 million paid to them from 2015-2023.

He said the ministry can provide copies of invoices, fee requisitions and any other document it has received from the 18 barristers, attorneys and solicitors.

“It is a reasonable request for monies spent by a public authority using public funds.”