former FIFA vice President and CONCACAF President Austin “Jack” Warner arriving at a Trinidad court on Wednesday, May 27, 205. (Facebook image)
News Americas, MIAMI, FL, Thurs. May 28, 2015: One facet of former FIFA vice President and CONCACAF President Austin “Jack” Warner’s personality that has rubbed off on his new party executives is his overwhelming confidence.
Despite being slapped with 12 charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering in a Trinidad court and hours after an indictment accusing him of corruption was unveiled in a Brooklyn, NY federal court, Warner’s Independent Labor Party executives are fired up in defense of their leader.
Chairman Rekha Ramjit last night urged supporters in Sangre Grande to “mobilize” and “fight.”
“If ever there was a time to mobilize and to fight this government it is now,” Ramjit was quoted as saying on Warner’s Twitter page, which has over 79,000 followers.
While Warner was in jail last night following a court appearance earlier in Port-of-Spain; in Sangre Grande, supporters were told the former teacher, soccer king maker, minister of government and party leader, would be at the “cottage meeting” today, Thursday, May 28th.
“It was deliberately done for Mr Warner to not be able to have his bail in place in time,” Ramjit said, while adding that despite several media reports, the Rio Claro, south Trinidad-born Warner was not told to surrender his passport but he offered it.
“Today the wheels of justice were no longer slow,” said Ramjit. “The Department of Justice met with them this morning and in no time the AG signed the indictment. Usually this takes years for other people.”
He also told supporters that “Warner on learning of the warrant turned himself in to the police.”
“He did not try to run from anything,” added Ramjit.
WARNER COURT APPEARANCE
Warner appeared before a Trinidad magistrate Wednesday after noon, just hours after an indictment accusing him of corruption were unveiled in a Brooklyn federal court. He was slapped with 12 charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering and ordered released on TT2.5 million bail. However, an untimely processing prevented his release and Warner was sent to jail for the night.
Warner did not enter a plea Wednesday and is set to make another court appearance on July 12.
This as the attorney general’s office in Trinidad and Tobago said the United States government had formally requested “the assistance of the Central Authority for the issuing of a Provisional Arrest Warrant for Warner, pending the commencement of extradition proceedings.”
Warner’s latest scandal comes as the attorney general’s office in Trinidad and Tobago admitted also on Wednesday that it had been working with the U.S. Justice Department investing the former FIFA vice president, who was forced out of the soccer body in 2011 over a bribery scandal.
The US Department of Justice alleges massive corruption by Warner and 14 others, including serving and former high-ranking FIFA officials and sports marketing company executives alleged to have paid bribes.
Warner was president of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and a FIFA executive committee member from 1990.
It was then that the US feds claim Warner “began to leverage his influence and exploit his official positions for personal gain.”
They claim his demand for and receipt of bribes was a key part of a 24-year racketeering and bribery conspiracy, dating from 1991 to 2015.
In the 164-page indictment, the DOJ alleges that a $10M payment was transferred by FIFA to the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) accounts that Warner controlled, in return for Warner, Chuck Blazer and an unnamed third FIFA “conspirator” voting for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup.
The indictment alleges the South African government initially offered to make this payment to the CFU, with a stated purpose to “support the African Diaspora.”
From this $10M, Warner is alleged to have agreed to pay $1M to Chuck Blazer, New York City’s Blazer, a former member of the FIFA Executive Committee and a top boss for CONCACAF, who according to the US Department of Justice, has pleaded guilty to this and a series of other financial frauds and crimes.
Warner is accused of agreeing to pay Blazer’s $1M share in installments “as he had already spent it.”
The indictment also charges Warner over the infamous payments of $40,000 packs of cash to Caribbean delegates in 2011 by Mohamed bin Hammam, who was challenging Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency. Warner, discovering that one official had called Blazer at CONCACAF to tell him about the payments, is alleged to have become angry and said: “There are some people here who think they are more pious than thou. If you’re pious, open a church, friends. Our business is our business.”
Warner’s sons Daryll and Daryan have already taken guilty pleas. On July 15, 2013, Daryll Warner, a former FIFA development officer, pled guilty to a two-count information charging him with wire fraud and the structuring of financial transactions.
On October 25, 2013, Daryan Warner, pled 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 agreed to pay a second forfeiture money judgment at the time of sentencing.