Along with other officials, former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner has been indicted for rackateering conspiracy and corruption in the United States [submit correction]. The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Evan M. Norris, Amanda Hector, Darren A. LaVerne, Samuel P. Nitze, Keith D. Edelman and Brian D. Morris of the Eastern District of New York, with assistance provided by the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and Organized Crime and Gang Section [submit correction].
The Swiss authorities are investigating a separate issue with currently unnamed suspects where it's possible that Warner may also become involved [submit correction]. There are currently no countries aside from the United States that have leveled charges against Jack Warner [submit correction]. He was arrested in Trinidad but was released on bail and is facing an extradition request from the U.S. government [submit correction].
Past Issues Involving Jack Warner
Although there have been past allegations of wrong doings including bribery and fraud [submit correction], there are only two previous cases where Warner has been reprimanded by FIFA [submit correction]. In 2006, Warner was reprimanded by FIFA for his potential involvement in the resale of tickets [submit correction]. In 2011, Warner resigned from FIFA amid allegations that he bribed potential voters to maintain his office [submit correction]. FIFA stated that, under Swiss law, they had no criminal jurisdiction over him unless he returned to soccer [submit correction]. Since the investigation was interrupted by his resignation, they also specified that that he left with the "presumption of innocence being maintained" [submit correction].
Warner has been at the center of bribery conflicts in the past before by prominent soccer affiliations including FIFA and the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) [submit correction].
Warner Cites Satirical Article In His Defense
In a video he posted defending himself against the charges, he claimed that the charges were potentially influenced by the embarrassment of the United States at losing the 2022 World Cup to "a country as small as Qatar" [submit correction]. In his video, he also cites an article that claims FIFA has frantically arranged a special World Cup contest to be held in the US this year [submit correction].
Warner resides in Trinidad and Tobago where, although The Onion may not be as widely known for it's purely satirical content, the official language is English [submit correction]. The Onion does not have a site dedicated to Trinidad and Tobago [submit correction], and there's insufficient Google search traffic for the company to generate a Google Trends search in that country [submit correction]. So it's possible that he wasn't aware that The Onion was a purely satirical publication.
The History of US Criminal Proceedings Involving Foreign Nationals
The United States has previously charged foreign individuals with sports-related corruption. On July 15, 2013, Daryll Warner, son Jack Warner and a former FIFA development officer, waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a two-count information charging him with wire fraud and the structuring of financial transactions [submit correction]. On Oct. 25, 2013, Daryan Warner waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a three-count information charging him with wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and the structuring of financial transactions [submit correction]. Daryan Warner forfeited over $1.1 million around the time of his plea and has agreed to pay a second forfeiture money judgment at the time of sentencing [submit correction].
The US has also investigated other officials relating to sports scandals involving foreign bodies and officials, such as the circumstances surrounding the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, UT. In that instance, however, charges were filed against a domestic group for bribery of a foreign committee (the IOC) [submit correction]. All parties were acquitted [submit correction].
Also relating to the 2002 Winter Olympics, the US District Court in Manhattan indicted a reputed Russian mobster with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit bribery related to sporting contests, sports bribery and violating the Travel Act, which outlaws using interstate or foreign commerce communication to commit bribery [submit correction].
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