PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Wednesday December 7, 2016 – Jack Warner and his legal team will have to wait until the New Year to persuade the law courts to overturn a decision by Attorney General Faris Al Rawi to sign off on a United States request for his extradition to face charges related to the FIFA bribery scandal.
Attorneys from both sides, who have completed all pre-trial matters, were expecting the Port of Spain High Court to set trial dates for the case yesterday, but Justice James Aboud adjourned the matter until March 13, 2017. He told the legal team his hands were tied because of an application filed by the United States to intervene in the matter.
“The thing is, it may be that this application is retarding the momentum of this case a bit. It may not be intentional, but we are being held back,” he said.
Washington is asking the Appeal Court to make it an interested party in the lawsuit, so it can make submissions in the case, separate from those being made by the Attorney General’s office, which is representing its interests.
The Appeal Court reserved judgment on the matter last month.
Justice Aboud was optimistic that the ruling would be handed down before Warner’s matter comes up on March 13.
Warner’s challenge claims that the Attorney General failed to give his attorneys a fair opportunity to make a case on his behalf before he signed the extradition request.
Warner also alleges the Trinidad’s Extradition Act afforded citizens certain protections that are overlooked by the country’s extradition treaty with the US.
US officials want the former football administrator to be extradited to face charges of racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering, bribery. It is alleged that from the early 1990s, he “began to leverage his influence and exploit his official positions for personal gain”.
Some of the specific allegations are that he accepted a US$10 million bribe from South African officials in return for voting to award them the 2010 World Cup; and that he bribed officials with envelopes each containing US$40,000 in cash.