Trinidad tells Warner: Turn yourself in

2015-06-08 10:00
Jack Warner (Getty Images)

Port of Spain - Trinidad and Tobago said on Sunday it expects new evidence against Jack Warner in the FIFA scandal to be investigated locally, but reiterated he should turn himself in to US authorities.

"We expect the authorities to take actions as the evidence comes," Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Prakash Ramadhar told a news conference.

Ramadhar said it is up to local police to lead the investigation against Warner, a 72 year old millionaire who remains popular in his Caribbean country despite the corruption allegations he faces as a former vice president of FIFA.

Warner insists he is innocent.

The government cannot meddle in that probe, the minister said.

In 2008, the governing body for football for North and Central America and the Caribbean - CONCACAF - received $10 million for a program to pay for football development for the African diaspora in the Caribbean. But much of that money went towards Warner's personal expenses, the BBC reported Sunday.

The BBC, citing documents it has seen, said Warner laundered the payment from South Africa through a supermarket chain, made cash withdrawals, paid off his credit cards and took personal loans.

US investigators suspect the $10 million was a bribe to help secure the 2010 World Cup for South Africa.

But South Africa says the money, paid in 2008, was intended to pay for football development for the African diaspora in the Caribbean, where Warner was the longtime football baron.

In three transactions in 2008 funds totalling $10 million were moved from FIFA's bank into a CONCACAF account controlled by Warner, then its president.

Sport24 reported earlier that JTA Supermarkets, a large chain in Trinidad, received $4.86 million paid in instalments, while nearly $1.6 million was used to pay Warner's credit cards and personal loans.

"If it is that Mr. Warner cares about Trinidad and Tobago, he should go (to the United States) and have his trial there," said Ramadhar.

He called on Warner to relieve his country of the burden of "ridicule."

"Hasten yourself to your trial," the minister said, expressing concern that the extradition process could be long and drawn out.

"Some lawyers have unlimited abilities to stretch things out so it can go to an extended period while Trinidad and Tobago suffers. And that's why we are here asking to short-circuit that," the minister added.


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