Warner leaves jail in ambulance
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP):
Former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner left a Trinidad jail by ambulance yesterday, a day after he was charged in a US corruption case that has led to the arrests of more than a dozen international soccer officials and businessmen.
Judicial officer Abraham Ali said Warner complained of exhaustion and was not able to face questions from reporters who gathered for several hours outside the jail. His lawyers could not be immediately reached for comment.
Warner, an opposition member of Parliament in the twin-island nation, surrendered to authorities on Wednesday and was granted a $395,000 bond but spent the night in jail. He faces eight counts in the US, including conspiracy to defraud and to engage in racketeering. He has not entered a plea and is expected to appear in court in July. A judge ordered Warner to surrender his passport and report to police twice a week.
Warner was forced out of FIFA in 2011 over a bribery scandal but has denied any wrongdoing.
It is unclear where Warner went after he left the jail, but officials with his Independent Liberal Party said in a statement that he would speak at a community meeting on Thursday night.
Trinidad's attorney general, Garvin Nicholas, said the US has two months to issue a formal extradition request. He said his office has been working with the US Justice Department for about two years on Warner's investigation.
US justice officials allege, among other things, that Warner received three payments totalling US$10 million in 2008 from an unidentified, high-ranking FIFA official. They said the money was deposited in a US account controlled by Warner.
Authorities say the money was allegedly offered to secure Warner's vote and help give South Africa the right to host the 2010 World Cup over Morocco. South Africa's sports minister yesterday denied any wrongdoing by his country's government.
Warner also faced scrutiny from FIFA over a sports complex he built in Trinidad more than a decade ago with financial help from the organisation and whose ownership has been disputed. The Centre of Excellence features a soccer field, a pool, and several meeting halls, including ones named after FIFA President Sepp Blatter and former South Africa President Nelson Mandela.
Messages left with the centre's officials were not returned. The centre regularly hosts conferences, weddings, football matches, and other events.