After embattled Independent Liberal Party (ILP) leader Jack Warner spent last night in jail after failing to secure bail, the United States Justice Department now has 60 days to produce a formal request for his extradition to the US to face racketeering and other charges on which he has been indicted there.
This is where the former football executive and former People's Partnership (PP) national security minister, now on eight charges, stands after yesterday's move by US authorities on Warner and 13 Fifa and Concacaf officials from various countries.Warner was with Fifa since 1983 and was a vice-president and Concacaf president until his suspension and eventual resignation from the roles in 2011 amid corruption allegations.
Yesterday's events concerning Warner unfolded early with a statement from the US Department of Justice which confirmed that Warner, 72, was among nine current and former Fifa officials and five corporate executives indicted for alleged racketeering conspiracy and corruption after a three-year probe.
The charges were announced by US Attorney General Loretta Lynch and a squad of US FBI, IRS and other justice officials. This, ahead of today's Fifa leadership election. The charges against Warner are:
(a) One (1) count of conspiracy to knowingly agree to conduct or participate in racketeering activity, relating to wire fraud and other offences, which either engages in or affects interstate or foreign commerce, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1962(d);
(b) Two (2) counts of conspiracy to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, including for the intangible right of honest services, using wire, radio, or television communications to execute such scheme or artifice, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, 1346, and 1349;
(c) Two (2) counts of devising any scheme or artifice to defraud, using wire, radio, or television communications to execute such scheme or artifice, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343;
(d) Two (2) counts of conspiring to transport, transmit and transfer monetary instruments and funds from places inside the United States to and through places outside the United States and to places in the United States from and through places outside the United States, with the intent to promote the carrying on of specified unlawful activity, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1956(a)(2)(A) and 1956(h); and
(e) One (1) count of transporting, transmitting and transferring monetary instruments and funds from places inside the United States to and through places outside the United States and to places in the United States from and through places outside the United States, with the intent to promote the carrying on of specified unlawful activity, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1956(a)(2)(A).
US officials here
Around 7 am yesterday, Attorney General Garvin Nicholas confirmed an application had been made by the US authorities to extradite Warner to the US to face the charges.Nicholas confirmed US officials were in T&T meeting with his ministry's Central Authority on the issue. His signature is required as the final step in the extradition process. Nicholas said he has received a copy of the US documents from the US Embassy.
Noting the arrest of the seven top Fifa executives in Zurich, Switzerland, Nicholas said: "These seven were among 14 high-ranking officials of Fifa, as well as leading officials of other related soccer governing bodies indicted on charges in the US."The allegations arising out of the investigation include bribery, corruption, wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering. Amongst these 14 persons is Mr Warner, who was indicted on eight counts."
Nicholas said the normal process would apply and once an application was made it would be taken to the courts for approval. On the length of time this could take, he said that would be determined by many factors, including the level of evidence and matters to be appealed.Nicholas said the Central Authority Unit had been working in conjunction with the Department of Justice for over two years regarding the investigation of transnational offences involving Warner.
He said the warrant for Warner's arrest was issued and turned over to T&T Police Service for execution. His passport was also surrendered."Mr Warner is entitled to a fair extradition process and both the requesting (US) and requested (T&T) states intend to abide by the provisions of the treaty to ensure Mr Warner's rights are respected," he said.
"In keeping with our international obligations, the Central Authority of T&T immediately facilitated the process to obtain the warrant which was issued by the Chief Magistrate, Ms Marcia Ayers-Caesar."Nicholas said under the treaty between the US and T&T, the United States now has 60 days to produce a formal request for Warner's extradition.
"The Central Authority will continue to fulfill its international obligations set out in the treaty. This request is clear evidence of the strength of the relationship between T&T and the US with respect to law enforcement matters," he said.Nicholas said T&T had done four extraditions under his tenure involving matters with the US and UK.
US Attorney General Lynch said the indictment against the Fifa officials was not the final chapter in the investigation.She said the US looked forward to continuing to work with other countries in the effort.
The indictment alleges that between 1991 and the present, the defendants and their co-conspirators "corrupted the (Fifa) enterprise by engaging in various criminal activities, including fraud, bribery and money laundering.It described Warner as a key figure in the matter. It alleged that he began soliciting and accepting bribes in connection with his official duties, including the election of a host nation for World Cup matches in 1998 and 2010.
It also alleged that he set up and controlled numerous bank accounts in T&T and elsewhere and mingled personal funds with Fifa-controlled bodies.The Department of Justice said a 47-count indictment was unsealed early yesterday in a federal court in Brooklyn, New York, charging 14 defendants with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies.
Yesterday, Swiss authorities in Zurich also arrested seven of the defendants at the US' request. A search warrant was also executed at Concacaf headquarters in Miami, Florida.
The Department of Justice stated that most of the schemes alleged in the indictment relate to the solicitation and receipt of bribes and kickbacks by soccer officials from sports marketing executives in connection with the commercialisation of the media and marketing rights associated with various soccer matches and tournaments, including Fifa World Cup qualifiers in the Concacaf region and other matches.
Four other defendants–including Warner's two sons and former Fifa general secretary Chuck Blazer–pleaded guilty when they were charged in 2013.On July 15, 2013, Daryll Warner waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a two-count information charging Daryan with wire fraud and the structuring of financial transactions.
On October 25, 2013, Daryan Warner waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a three-count information charging him with wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and the structuring of financial transactions.Daryan Warner forfeited over $1.1 million around the time of his plea and has agreed to pay a second forfeiture money judgment at the time of sentencing. Both are in the US.