Accused former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner freed

Thu May 28, 2015 7:47pm EDT
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PORT OF SPAIN (Reuters) - Former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner, who has been accused of soliciting bribes as part of a vast corruption case against senior soccer officials, left jail in Trinidad and Tobago via ambulance on Thursday after he was granted bail, according to local media.

Warner is among nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives charged by the U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday with running a criminal enterprise that involved more than $150 million in bribes. FIFA is the global body governing soccer.

Once one of the most powerful men in FIFA, Warner surrendered to authorities on Wednesday after U.S. officials sought his extradition.

Prosecutors say Warner solicited bribes worth $10 million from the South African government to host the 2010 World Cup and diverted bribes for personal use.

Warner issued a statement protesting his innocence on Wednesday as FIFA reeled from police raids in Switzerland and the United States, as well as a second investigation opened by the Swiss authorities into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Warner, who faces 12 charges included racketeering and bribery, said on Wednesday he was innocent and noted he had left soccer activities four years ago. "Over the past several years I have recommitted my life to the work of improving the lot of every citizen of every creed and race in this nation," he said in a statement.

(Reporting by Linda Hutchinson-Jafar; Writing by David Adams; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Leslie Adler)

Police officers stand guard as an ambulance leaves the state prison in Port-of-Spain May 28, 2015.  REUTERS/Andrea de Silva