Embattled former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner believes his “nightmare is over,” after the US Supreme Court and a lower court threw out the convictions of two defendants linked to football corruption in September last year.
According to a January 27, 2024 New York Times article, these rulings “cast doubt on the legal basis for a host of prosecutions” surrounding those involved in scandals coming out of the December 2015 raids on FIFA officials in Zurich, Switzerland.
In June 2011, Warner, who was then provisionally suspended by the world football governing body for alleged corruption, resigned from all his international football posts.
Warner was one of 14 top FIFA officials and corporate executives to be accused of corruption, fraud and money laundering while he was FIFA vice-president.
In 2015, Warner was indicted in 29 charges of corruption in the US. Extradition proceedings against him remain on hold.
In an interview with i95.5FM on Thursday, Warner said the court’s ruling to toss the convictions of an ex-21st Century Fox executive and sports marketing company on corruption charges in a case involving FIFA has him feeling relieved.
That September case, according to the New York Times, in which “the two defendants benefited from two recent Supreme Court rulings that had rejected federal prosecutors’ application of the law at play in the soccer cases and offered rare guidance on what is known as honest services fraud.
“The defendants in the soccer trial had been found to have engaged in bribery that deprived organizations outside the US of their employees’ honest services, which constituted fraud at the time. But the judge ruled that the court’s new guidance meant that those actions were no longer prohibited under American law.”
On this decision, Warner chimed in.
“I am in firm agreement with the US Supreme Court statement on the matter. I always knew the US were wrong to attack and destroy FIFA and destroy people’s lives just because they didn’t get a World Cup venue," referring to the US' failed 2022 World Cup bid. That World Cup bid was won by Qatar, but several FIFA officials, including Warner, were accused of accepting bribes.
“It is utterly ridiculous for people to be imprisoned and to be charged for being a member of a private organisation as FIFA, and to be charged by the US government on what they did or did not do during their stay in FIFA,” Warner said.
He said that he always felt that it was an “overreach and overkill” by the US to lay charges on FIFA officials.
The New York Times added that “the dramatic turnabout (rulings) comes over questions of whether American prosecutors overreached by applying US law to a group of people, many of them foreign nationals, who defrauded foreign organisations as they carried out bribery schemes across the world.”
On the Supreme Court’s decisions, Warner expressed confidence in his pending case but said these legal matters did have a negative effect on him.
“My lawyers have told me that my nightmare is over, and I have every reason to believe what they are saying. And they are now working to pursue the matter further to what redress I am entitled to.
“The Supreme Court is not a court where you can play any games. It’s the final court in the US, and I feel relieved. As I’ve said before, my life has been destroyed, my family's lives have been destroyed, I have spent tons of money on this matter.”
When asked about his bribery charges, Warner responded, “My lawyers will deal with that and will tell you if that was bribery or gifts.”
He believes there is an agenda by politicians to have him extradited to the US to answer charges. When pressed on this, he said, “Absolutely. That goes without saying. If I didn’t have the means to defend myself I would have gone (been extradited) already.”
On the impending TT Football Association general elections, Warner said that he has not seen any real contender to contest for presidency after four years of the normalisation committee running its daily affairs.