Warner a step closer to US extradition

Port of Spain - Trinidad and Tobago's Attorney General has signed Authority to Proceed (ATP) documents, clearing the way for extradition proceedings against ex-FIFA Vice-President Jack Warner, who is wanted in the United States on corruption charges, a court heard on Monday.

The case was then adjourned until Friday after lawyers asked for time to review the documents. Warner is among nine officials of world football's governing body, along with five sports marketing executives indicted by U.S. prosecutors. He faces 12 charges related to racketeering and bribery.

U.S. authorities have asked for him to be extradited in order to face the charges. Warner was arrested on a provisional warrant in May.

Warner, the former president of CONCACAF, the confederation for North and Central America and the Caribbean and an ex-FIFA vice-president, has denied all wrongdoing.

The 72-year-old is also at the center of one of the key elements in the indictment - a $10 million payment from South African football officials to CONCACAF, which U.S prosecutors allege was linked to Warner's support for South Africa's bid to host the 2010 World Cup.

Lawyers for Warner asked Deputy Chief Magistrate Mark Wellington to discharge their client because Attorney General Faris Al Rawi missed a Sept. 16 deadline for signing the ATP.

Queens Counsel James Lewis, representing the state, however, said that there was no reason to discharge Warner since the documents were now signed.

Wellington asked for time to review the documents and the arguments from lawyers representing the state.

Al Rawi was sworn into office on Sept. 9, two days after the People's National Movement (PNM) won the general elections. On Sept. 16, he communicated with the Chief Magistrate's office that he needed additional time to make a final decision on the ATP documents.

Warner, a former government minister, lost his seat in Trinidad and Tobago parliamentary in elections earlier this month

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