This morning seven top executives of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) were arrested in Zurich, Switzerland as a result of an international investigation conducted by the United States of America. These seven were among fourteen high-ranking officials of FIFA as well as leading officials of other related soccer governing bodies indicted on charges in the US. The allegations arising out of the investigation include bribery, corruption, wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering. Amongst these fourteen persons is Mr. Austin Jack Warner, who was indicted on eight counts including:
(a) One (1) count of conspiracy to knowingly agree to conduct or participate in racketeering activity, relating to wire fraud and other offences, which either engages in or affects interstate or foreign commerce, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1962(d);
(b)Two (2) counts of conspiracy to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, including for the intangible right of honest services, using wire, radio, or television communications to execute such scheme or artifice, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, 1346, and 1349;
(c) Two (2) counts of devising any scheme or artifice to defraud, using wire, radio, or television communications to execute such scheme or artifice, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343;
(d)Two (2) counts of conspiring to transport, transmit and transfer monetary instruments and funds from places inside the United States to and through places outside the United States and to places in the United States from and through places outside the United States, with the intent to promote the carrying on of specified unlawful activity, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1956(a)(2)(A) and 1956(h); and\
(e) One (1) count of transporting, transmitting and transferring monetary instruments and funds from places inside the United States to and through places outside the United States and to places in the United States from and through places outside the United States, with the intent to promote the carrying on of specified unlawful activity, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1956(a)(2)(A)
In this regard, this morning the Central Authority of Trinidad and Tobago received a request from the United States Department of Justice for a provisional arrest warrant for the purposes of extradition of Mr. Warner. In keeping with our international obligations, the Central Authority of Trinidad and Tobago immediately facilitated the process to obtain the said warrant which was issued by the Chief Magistrate, Ms. Marcia Ayers-Caesar.
This afternoon, Mr. Warner was taken into custody and brought before the Chief Magistrate where the charges were read to him and he was granted bail in the sum of $2,500,000 with conditions. Under the Treaty between the United States of America and Trinidad and Tobago, the United States now has 60 days to produce a formal request for the extradition of Mr. Warner.
Today’s events are the result of continued successful cooperation between the Central Authority of Trinidad and Tobago and the United States Department of Justice, which has spanned a period of approximately two years in respect of the present matter. The Central Authority will continue to fulfill its international obligations set out in the Treaty. This request is clear evidence of the strength of the relationship between Trinidad and Tobago and the United States with respect to law enforcement matters. In this regard I would like to congratulate the Central Authority Unit for the professionalism with which they have conducted this matter over the last two years, and in particular the confidentiality with which they continue to treat matters of this nature.
Trinidad and Tobago shares common goals with the United States of America with regard to the administration of justice and upholding the rule of law. These are values shared by all members of the International community. It is in fact quite timely that Trinidad and Tobago is currently hosting the 41st Plenary Session of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), a forum for regional cooperation in the fight against money laundering and financial crimes. This matter is in fact an example of the very level of international cooperation which CFATF seeks to achieve.
The nature of this matter is global in scale. It is therefore expected that this matter would draw not only national but international attention. This matter is however of a very serious and sensitive nature and is now in the hands of the court. I have full confidence in the institutions involved to carry out their roles in a professional and fair manner.
Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago
Dated: 27th May, 2015