PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (Reuters) - Former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner’s lawyers plan to file for judicial review against the government of Trinidad and Tobago claiming political bias in the move to extradite him to the United States.
Warner, once one of the most powerful men in soccer’s global governing body, is wanted on a dozen charges stemming from an investigation by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“I have instructed my legal team to initiate judicial proceedings against the government because of political bias,” Warner, 72, told reporters following a court appearance on Monday.
Judicial review could stall extradition proceedings against Warner, with appeals going to the London-based Privy Council, the country’s highest court. Trinidad and Tobago gained independence from Britain in the 1960s but retained the Privy Council as its final court of appeal.
“I’m saying they judged the case in the public domain and therefore to get a fair trial, it would not be easy for me,” said Warner, leader of the Independent Liberal Party, an opposition party in the Caribbean nation’s parliament. “As such, I have filed for judicial review... Judicial review must be heard before anything else,” he said.
Warner, currently on bail in connection with a provisional arrest warrant, is wanted in the United States to face a dozen charges including bribery, corruption and wire fraud conspiracy in his role at FIFA.
Warner appeared for a third time before judge Marcia Ayers-Caesar in the Port of Spain Magistrates court, with lawyers from both sides requesting more time to examine the 166-page extradition document which the Attorney General’s office received last week from the United States.
The case was adjourned to August 28.
Warner is among nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives charged by the U.S. Department of Justice with running a criminal enterprise that involved more than $150 million in bribes.
Writing by Simon Evans; Editing by Bill Rigby