Former FIFA Vice President, Mr. Jack Warner, has sent a pre-action protocol letter to journalist Lasana Liburd following the publication of what Mr. Warner called a "defamatory article against him."
In a letter, Mr. Warner's attorney, Om Lalla, stated that the article alleged that Mr. Warner had fraudulently stolen or had dishonestly appropriated monies that were approved by FIFA and South Korea for victims of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Mr. Lalla stated that the imputations are false, malicious and misleading, and calculated to damage Mr. Warner's reputation.
The attorney also stated that Mr. Warner is demanding that a full and unequivocal public retraction of the publication be made, as well as an apology.
Mr. Warner is also demanding payment of a substantial sum in damages and compensation for the injury to his reputation and distress caused to him.
24th February, 2012
Mr. Lasana Liburd
c/o The Trinidad Express Newspapers Limited
35-37 Independence Square
Port of Spain
We act with Mr. William Mc Cormick Q.C. for and on behalf of Mr. Jack Warner.
We are instructed that on the 12th February 2012 you wrote an article captioned "Warner Named in Haitian Aid Scandal" and "FIFA stops TTFF funding” and caused it to be published on several internet websites.
The article states inter alia that close to $4.4 million (US$690,000.00) donated by FIFA and South Korea never made it lo the Federation of Haitian Football.
The article further states that "Warner in his capacity as CONCACAF and Caribbean Football Union (CPU) president, collected $4.76 million on behalf of Haiti after the Caribbean Island was stunned by a massive earthquake on 12th January 2010. The Haitian government estimated that 316,000 persons were killed including over 30 football officials as the FHF building was reduced to rubble. However, FHF Yves Jean-Bart told Sunday Times reporters James Corbett, Jonathan Calvert and Heidi Blake that only $381,000 (US$60,000.00) made it to grief-stricken nation from the said money allegedly given to Warner.
We are instructed that our client has made all due payments to Haiti from money paid by FIFA and South Korea and has accounted for it.
The words in the said article meant and were understood to mean that our client has fraudulently stolen and or dishonestly appropriated monies that was provided by FIFA and South Korea for victims of the January 2010 earthquake. The imputations that our client took and misappropriated the monies due to Haiti is false, malicious and misleading and calculated to damage our client's reputation.
Moreover, the allegations are defamatory and libellous and have caused and continue to cause our client serious distress and embarassment and wilfully and maliciously imputes that our client has dishonestly taken and misappropriated monies allocated for victims of the Haiti earthquake.
Further the article has been wilfully and maliciously published and re-published several times on the internet and has attracted defamatory blogs. The articles remain on the internet together with the defamatory blogs relating to our client.
In the circumstances our client requires of you as a matter of urgency:
1. A full and unequivocal public retraction of the publication and an apology in terms to be approved by us and to be published in sufficient prominence and in both the print and electronic media and via the internet.
2. An undertaking not to repeat or republish the false allegation.
3. An undertaking to remove forthwith all blogs posted electronically in relation to the said article.
4. The payment of a substantial sum in damages to our client to demonstrate the baselessness of the allegation and compensation for the injury to his reputation and distress caused to him.
5. The payment of client's legal costs.
We look forward to hearing from you without delay and in any event within fourteen (14) days from the date hereof. If we do not receive a satisfactory response within the said period of time, our instructions are to issue a claim form against you without further notice.
We trust that good sense will prevail and this matter will be amicably resolved.
K. R. LALLA AND COMPANY
By Om Lalla