Warner raises new US extradition challenge

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner –

ATTORNEYS pursuing the extradition of former FIFA vice president and government minister Jack Warner in Trinidad and Tobago on behalf of the United States are insisting they are ready to proceed with the proceedings.

The entreaty was made when Warner appeared before Chief Magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Caddle as extradition proceedings against him resumed following the Privy Council’s ruling on his challenge in November, last year.

On November 17, 2022, the Privy Council paved the way for the continuation of the extradition proceedings against Warner to the United States to face a barrage of fraud-related charges. The London court held that the US’s request for Warner’s extradition was not unfair.

The proceedings in the local court had been stalled when the former FIFA jefe challenged the process by which the extradition proceedings against him were carried out and he sought to quash the authority to proceed (ATP) signed by the Attorney General in September 2015. This was after the US asked for the former football jefe to be extradited to face some 29 charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering. The 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 argued he was not given sufficient time to make representations, nor was he given 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.

When the matter resumed before Earle-Caddle, Warner’s attorneys raised an issue related to the certificate of speciality and asked that they be allowed to file submissions on the issue which will have to be referred to the High Court for determination. The argument raised relates to the arrangement between the US and TT for extradition and speciality is a principle in international law which provides that a person who is extradited can be prosecuted or sentenced in the requesting state only in relation to the offences for which extradition was granted and not for any other crime committed before the extradition took place.

At the hearing, attorneys for the requesting State insisted that all their witnesses were available and were ready to proceed with the matter.

The Chief Magistrate has adjourned the matter to April 14, at which time she will give a decision on Warner’s application and for further directions.

Warner was represented by Fyard Hosein, SC, Anil Maraj and Aadam Hosein while appearing for ASP Alleyne, who is acting on the request of the US, is represented by James Lewis, KC, Douglas Mendes, SC, Pamela Elder, SC, Ravi Rajcoomar, Netram Kowlessar and Chris Seelochan.

Warner had 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, FIFA banned Warner from all football activities for life.

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

In the US charge sheet against him, Warner is accused of racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering, and bribery; and allegedly, from the early 1990s, he “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 of cash.