FIFA Corruption Investigation Update: Extraditions of Jack Warner and Rafael Esquivel Approved

Barack_Obama_and_Sepp_Blatter_in_the_Oval_OfficeOn 21 September 2015, Trindad’s Attorney General approved the extradition of former FIFA vice president, Jack Warner, from Trinidad to the United States. Two days later, on 23 September 2015, Switzerland’s Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) granted a US request to extradite Rafael Esquivel, former president of the Venezuelan FA and executive member of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL).

Reports are here and here. Previous FIFA blogs are here.

Jack Warner

On 21 September 2015, the Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago, Faris Al Rawi, signed Authority to Proceed (‘ATP’) documents in the case of Mr Warner, which will facilitate his extradition to the US.

Mr Warner is accused by US authorities of racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering, bribery, and was arrested on a provisional warrant in May 2015. Mr Warner is allegedly involved in a central element of the FIFA case: a $10m payment from South African football officials to the confederation for North and Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF), linked to Mr Warner’s support for South Africa’s bid to host the 2010 World Cup. He denies any wrongdoing.

Mr Warner’s defence team had requested that Deputy Chief Magistrate Mark Wellington discharge him, on the basis that Mr Rawi missed a deadline on 16 September 2015 for signing the ATP. However, lawyers representing the State of Trinidad and Tobago successfully argued that there was no reason for discharging Mr Warner, since the ATP documents are now signed.

The hearing has been adjourned to 25 September 2015, after Mr Warner’s lawyers asked for more time to review the documents and the submissions made by the lawyers representing the State.

Rafael Esquivel

On 23 September 2015, Switzerland’s FOJ approved the extradition to the US of Venezuelan citizen, Rafael Esquivel. The press release is here.

Mr Esquivel is accused of receiving bribes worth millions of dollars in connection with the sale of marketing rights to the Copa America tournaments in 2007, 2015, 2016, 2019 and 2023. He has 30 days to lodge an appeal.

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