PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Attorney General Faris Al Rawi Monday insisted he would not discuss the extradition case involving former FIFA vice president Austin Jack Warner in public as a senior magistrate adjourned the matter to Friday.
Warner, who is wanted in the United States on 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, left the magistrate court building without speaking to reporters.
US law enforcement authorities also arrested a number of FIFA present and past officials as part of the probe.
The former international football official is on TT$2.5 million (One TT dollar =US$0.16 cents) and has already surrendered his travel documents and reports to the police twice weekly as part of his bail conditions.
Last week, Al Rawi is reported to have requested Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayres-Caesar to vary her order that the authority to proceed be extended so as to allow him more time to review the extradition documents.
“Again I will invite you to pay attention to what happens in court, the process is still unfolding, suffice it to say that I will continue to discharge my constitutional and statutory obligations…I do not propose to speak about this matter…,” he told reporters Monday.
“If the need arises to speak further I will certainly ask you for that opportunity to address, but for now the matter is currently before the court…,” he added.
But Queen Counsel James Lewis, who is representing the state, confirmed that the Al Rawi had signed the authority to proceed (ATP) on the extradition case.
Warner’s lawyers argued that, despite signing the authority to proceed, the state missed the original deadline. They have vowed to challenge the matter and predicted a lengthy process.
Senior Counsel Fyard Hosein said the failure to sign the ATP prior to the September 16 deadline meant his warrant should be discharged.
He argued that under Section 12.3, the Magistrate had no grounds to grant an extension and as such, to avoid the matter facing a Judicial Review over the issue, the warrant should by discharged.
But Lewis argued that there was no real reason to discharge the warrant as the nature of the proceedings had already changed due to the ATP. He said the discharge would be purely “academic.”
But Deputy Chief Magistrate Mark Wellington said he is a bit troubled by the differing arguments and requested time to review the document.