Warner rubbishes bribery claims

Former Fifa vice president Jack Warner - FILE PHOTO
Former Fifa vice president Jack Warner - FILE PHOTO

FORMER FIFA vice-president Jack Austin Warner has expressed “no comment” to claims in an Associated Press report last evening that he received US$5 million in bribes for votes for Qatar to be awarded host nation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

According to the report, “prosecutors revealed new details of alleged bribes paid to FIFA executive committee members to gain their votes for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup and charged a pair of former 21st Century Fox executives with making illegal payments to win broadcast rights for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.

“An indictment unsealed Monday in US District Court in Brooklyn says Nicolás Leoz, then president of the South American governing body CONMEBOL, and former Brazil federation president Ricardo Teixeira received bribes to vote for Qatar at the 2010 FIFA executive committee meeting.

“Jack Warner of TT, president of the North and Central American and Caribbean governing body Concacaf, received US$5 million in bribes to vote for Russia to host in 2018 from 10 different shell companies that included entities in Anguilla, Cyprus and the British Virgin Islands, the indictment alleged. Guatemala federation president Rafael Salguero was promised a US$1 million bribe to vote for Russia, according to the indictment.”

When contacted on Monday evening, Warner mentioned, “You really want me to answer that stupidness? I have no comment to make on that. That is still news?”

Asked if he wished to refute or deny the allegations, Warner replied, “If allyuh want to me messengers for the US, go ahead. I have no problem with that.”

Will he be prepared to fight this battle legally? “I’m not interested in that,” he responded. “If the US people tell you to go ahead with that, go ahead nah.”

According to the AP report, “Leoz, who died last August, avoided extradition, as have Warner and Teixeira. Salguero pleaded guilty in 2018 to two counts of wire fraud conspiracy and one count each of racketeering conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.

“Alejandro Burzaco, former head of the marketing company Torneos y Competencias, testified in 2017 that all three South Americans on the FIFA executive committee took million-dollar bribes to support Qatar, which prevailed over the US 14-8.

“ESPN had US English-language television rights to the World Cup from 1994-2014, but Fox in 2011 gained the rights for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. After the 2022 tournament in Qatar was shifted from summer to late autumn, a time when it is likely to get less attention in the US, FIFA awarded Fox rights for 2026 without competitive bidding.”022 tournament in Qatar was shifted from summer to late autumn, a time when it is likely to get less attention in the US, FIFA awarded Fox rights for 2026 without competitive bidding.”

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