Trinidad downplays Warner flight risk

Port of Spain - Ex-FIFA vice-president Jack Warner has slim chances of fleeing his native Trinidad and Tobago, where he is fighting the US bid to extradite him on corruption charges, the country's attorney general said on Wednesday.

Warner, who was arrested after the United States indicted him and 13 other football officials and marketing executives in a sweeping corruption investigation, is currently free on $40 000 bail pending extradition hearings.

Trinidadian Attorney General Garvin Nicholas said the country had taken measures to prevent him from fleeing, tightening the net already around him since the United States had Interpol put Warner on its most wanted list and issue an international red alert.

"We certainly made it a lot more difficult for him to escape or to leave the country, and with the Americans taking the further step of issuing the red warrant it means that every country is now alerted should he attempt to enter another country," Nicholas told journalists.

"Together with the American authorities I think we have done all that we can to ensure that Mr. Warner makes himself available when the time comes."

Warner, a politically powerful lawmaker and millionaire, has to present himself to police twice a week under his bail terms.

"Any person with the level of resources that Mr. Warner has would be considered a flight risk, and that is why the arrest took place and his passport was surrendered," said Nicholas, who said his office had been cooperating with the US investigation for two years.

He said the extradition case against Warner, who denies the charges against him, could take years.

Warner, 72, is accused of taking a $10-million bribe to help South Africa win the contest to host the 2010 World Cup, among other charges.

Since his indictment he has waged a mass media campaign in Trinidad and Tobago to proclaim his innocence.

After Warner threatened to unleash an "avalanche" of dirty secrets about world football governing body FIFA, British comedian John Oliver took to the Trinidadian airwaves on Tuesday to encourage him to do just that.

"I am begging you, release everything, because, why the hell not? It's not like you are not already potentially in a lot of trouble," Oliver said in a paid five-minute spot on TV6, one of the same outlets Warner has used to stage his defence.

He urged him to follow the example of Chuck Blazer, the US football executive who was also indicted in the sting and agreed to co-operate with investigators.

"You have as many delicious secrets as he does, and you owe it to the whole world to tell us," said Oliver, host of satirical news show "Last Week Tonight" on US channel HBO.

"For once in your life, Mr. Warner, don't think about yourself, think about everyone else," he said.

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