Port of Spain - Jack Warner, the football executive, political heavyweight
and entrepreneur at the heart of the FIFA corruption scandal, runs a tropical
business empire in his native Trinidad and Tobago. But how much is he actually
Warner owns newspapers, real estate and dozens of companies in the Caribbean
nation, but like his time in the halls of power of world football, the net
value of his assets is shrouded in mystery and intrigue.
"I certainly do not know how much Warner is worth," said
Trinidadian Attorney General Garvin Nicholas, whose office is cooperating with
the US investigation into allegations of massive corruption by Warner and 13
other indicted football officials and marketing executives.
"Unless you can get to every penny, every bank account, every company
that Mr. Warner owns," it would be impossible to determine his net worth,
Investigative journalist Camini Marajh of the Trinidad Express, who has
reported on Warner for years, estimated two years ago in a series of stories
that his fortune amounted to one billion Trinidadian dollars, or about $160
But that did not include assets registered to Warner's family and
"He has a lot of real estate holdings, 60 companies, shell
corporations. He has different assets funded with other people," Marajh
"He is high up there with some of the wealthiest Trinidad and Tobago
Several properties are registered to Warner's wife and two sons, Daryan and
Daryll, both of whom have already pleaded guilty to corruption charges and are
cooperating with US investigators.
Daryan agreed to forfeit more than $1.1 million as part of his plea bargain
on charges of wire fraud, money laundering and evading financial reporting
Warner, 72, a former cabinet minister and current member of parliament,
increased his fortune in tandem with his influence in the world of football,
according to analysts and journalists.
The former teacher rose through the ranks of local football organizations to
become a FIFA executive committee member in 1983.
He went on to become FIFA vice president and run two regional football
federations, the Caribbean Football Union and the Confederation of North,
Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), before being forced
from all football duties amid allegations he tried to buy votes in FIFA's 2011
He has also been accused of pocketing funds meant for victims of the 2010
Haiti earthquake, misappropriating money for football development in the
Caribbean and selling votes in the competitions to pick World Cup host
The US indictment alleges South Africa paid him $10 million to sway the vote
for the 2010 World Cup.
The most powerful symbol of the "Warner system" in Trinidad and
Tobago may be the Centre of Excellence, a $22.5-million football academy funded
mainly by FIFA that ended up registered as Warner's personal property.
A sprawling facility with a stadium, hotel, swimming complex and conference centre,
it was supposed to train the next generations of Caribbean footballers, but
today is mostly rented out for trade shows, concerts and weddings.
Warner, who is currently out of jail on $400,000 bail pending his
extradition hearings, has so far escaped unscathed from the various scandals
that have threatened to bring him down.
To many of his constituents in the district of Chaguanas West, he remains a
"There are too many people who really do not believe that what he's
doing is fundamentally wrong," said Sunity Maharaj, who edits a review
published by the Lloyd Best Institute of the West Indies, a think tank.
"Jack Warner may be a criminal in the rest of world, but here Jack is
who they would have been if they had the chance," she said.