PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – The Trinidad and Tobago Court of Appeal Tuesday dismissed a judicial review by former international football official, Austin Jack Warner, challenging his extradition to the United States where he is wanted on charges of fraud arising out of a Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) bribery scandal.
Warner, a former TT government minister, had earlier appealed the ruling by High Court judge James Aboud, who had dismissed the claim for judicial review.
Warner had challenged the process by which the extradition proceedings against him were being carried out and sought to quash the authority to proceed (ATP) which was signed in 2016 by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi.
The ATP gave the magistrate the green light to begin committal proceedings. Warner also challenged the legality of the Extradition (Commonwealth and Foreign Territories) Act, and the treaty signed between this country and the US.
But in dismissing the latest claim, the three-member Appeals Court, stayed the magisterial proceedings for 21 days pending an application by Warner for permission to argue his case at the London-based Privy Council, the country’s highest and final court.
No merit in Warner’s case
In the 40-page written decision, the Court of Appeal comprising Justices Gregory Smith, Prakash Moosai and Andre des Vignes said the extradition treaty had not been shown to lack conformity with the Act and there was no merit in Warner’s case that the US order which declared that country as a declared foreign territory was not valid.
“Therefore, the pending extradition proceedings in respect of the appellant before the magistrate are valid,” the Court of Appeal ruled, adding that “there was no denial of justice in the issuance of the ATP by the Attorney General”.
Warner, who is on TT$2.5 million bail, was indicted by US authorities over allegations of racketeering, wire fraud and money-laundering conspiracies spanning 24 years.
Warner, who served as FIFA vice-president for several years, is charged with 12 offences related to racketeering, corruption and money laundering allegedly committed in the jurisdiction of the United States and Trinidad and Tobago, dating as far back as 1990.
But Warner claims the case against him is politically motivated and accuses the United States of seeking revenge because it lost to Qatar in its bid to host the 2022 World Cup.”
He surrendered himself to police here on May 27, 2015, after learning of the provisional warrant.