Port of Spain (Trinidad), July 2 (IANS) Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner has told the United States to brace up for a “long hot summer” as he defends himself against charges laid by law enforcement authorities of that country regarding his activities with football’s world governing body.
Warner, who is out on bail, is due to re-appear in court here on July 9, reports CMC.
Warner was charged with 12 offences related to racketeering, corruption and money laundering allegedly committed in the jurisdiction of the United States and Trinidad and Tobago, dating as far back as 1990.
US law enforcement authorities last month arrested a number of FIFA officials as part of the probe.
Warner, a former senior government minister, who is now the head of his own political party, the Independent Liberal Party (ILP), is reported to have hired British Queens Counsel Edward Fitzgerald to fight his extradition to the United States, told supporters on Wednesday that he is prepared to challenge the request by the United States.
He said he was not running.
“I ain’t hiding , all I say to them is bring it on and when they bring it on it will be a long hot summer,” said Warner.
“Jack Warner isn’t going anywhere, he ain’t going anywhere. I’ll be here not for five, 10 or 15 years, I will be here for a very long time” said Warner.
The former FIFA official who quit football in 2011, said he had taken note of a US news report which stated that he was charged with wire fraud as $295,000 of FIFA money was wired to him in December 2010.
Warner said if this is what he got after 30 years in FIFA, he’s still owed money.
Warner said he was also surprised that the Kamla Persad Bissessar government was using tax payers money here to hire lawyers to fight a case against him filed by the United States.
He said the state had hired an English QC and five local lawyers.
“That for me is patently unfair,” said Warner, adding that he is not fearful since he believes he has a good legal team.
“I sleep very soundly at night. Because I have nothing to fear. The Lord is my Shepherd,” said Warner.
Meanwhile, ILP deputy leader Rekha Ramjit told the meeting that the extradition case would involve a long process.
“In this particular issue it will be a long time before this process is complete,” said Ramjit on Wednesday, making reference to the challenges by two government financiers wanted in the United States dating back to 2005.
She said the provisional warrant of arrest issued for Warner on May 26, was just a statement of bare charges with no evidence attached.
Ramjit said under the extradition treaty the provisional warrant of arrest is issued if urgent.
“What was the urgency that caused him (Attorney General) to execute a provisional warrant without any evidence on a prominent citizen,” said Ramjit.