Sat, Mar

Attorney General Reginald Armour at the Parliament.

ATTORNEY General Reginald Armour, SC, said former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner still has matters before the local courts.

Armour made this comment on Saturday in response to statements made by Warner during a radio interview on February 1 about the rulings of the US Supreme Court and a lower court to throw out the convictions of two defendants linked to football corruption in September last year.

In a WhatsApp response, Armour said, "Mr Warner has active, ongoing matters before the courts of Trinidad and Tobago and I do not propose to engage in public commentary on any of his matters."

Warner still has challenges before the magistrates' court to extradition proceedings related to corruption charges against him when he was FIFA vice-president.

The matter has been adjourned to March 1 for a status update since his attorneys are expected to file the section 14 referral claim in the High Court.

Warner’s argument relates to the arrangement between the US and Trinidad and Tobago for extradition and the specialty principle which, by law, 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 allegedly committed before the extradition took place.

According to a January 27, 2024 New York Times article, these rulings “cast doubt on the legal basis for a host of prosecutions” surrounding those involved in scandals coming out of the December 2015 raids on FIFA officials in Zurich, Switzerland.

In June 2011, Warner, who was then provisionally suspended by the world football governing body for alleged corruption, resigned from all his international football posts.

Warner was one of 14 top FIFA officials and corporate executives to be accused of corruption, fraud and money laundering while he was FIFA vice-president.

In 2015, Warner was indicted in 29 charges of corruption in the US. In the radio interview, Warner said the court’s ruling to toss the convictions of an ex-21st Century Fox executive and sports marketing company on corruption charges in a case involving FIFA has him feeling relieved.

That September case, according to the New York Times, in which “the two defendants benefited from two recent Supreme Court rulings that had rejected federal prosecutors’ application of the law at play in the soccer cases and offered rare guidance on what is known as honest services fraud.

“The defendants in the soccer trial had been found to have engaged in bribery that deprived organisations outside the US of their employees’ honest services, which constituted fraud at the time. But the judge ruled that the court’s new guidance meant that those actions were no longer prohibited under American law.”

Warner said, "My lawyers have told me that my nightmare is over, and I have every reason to believe what they are saying. And they are now working to pursue the matter further to what redress I am entitled to."

On November 17, 2022, the Privy Council paved the way for the continuation of the proceedings to extradite Warner to the US to face the charges. The London-based court held that the US request for Warner’s extradition was not unfair.

The proceedings in the local court were stalled when Warner challenged the process by which the extradition proceedings against him were carried out and sought to quash the authority to proceed (ATP) signed by the Attorney General in September 2015.

This was after the US asked for him to be extradited to face 29 charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering. The request was made on July 24, 2015.

After the September 7, 2015 general election, then attorney general Faris Al-Rawi offered to allow Warner to make representations, but only on 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.

The US Department of Justice claims that from as far back as 1990, Warner leveraged his influence and exploited his official positions for personal gain. He is accused of receiving US$5 million in bribes to vote for Russia to host the 2018 World Cup.

Extradition proceedings against Warner are yet to begin.