Litigation looms as row escalates between soccer federation and Jack Warner

Derek Ali, attorney for the soccer federation, told a judge that he planned to file a lawsuit and accused Warner of not releasing the audited accounts.  High Court Judge Devindra Rampersad ordered Ali to send Warner a protocol letter advising him of the federation’s intentions.

The federation has said that Warner controlled a bank account in its name that was set to receive US$750,000 pledged by FIFA and South Korean soccer head Chung Mong-joon toward soccer rebuilding projects in Haiti.

Haitian officials recently told Britain’s Sunday Times that they received only US$60,000, and FIFA said it was temporarily freezing its funding to Trinidad and Tobago.

Trinidad’s soccer federation recently acknowledged that it had “surrendered its authority” to Warner, who had served as their special advisor and resigned last year in the face of a bribery probe.

The federation is also seeking to recover millions of dollars in bonuses that 13 players from the country’s 2006 World Cup team claim Warner promised them but never paid. Last year, Judge Devindra Rampersad ordered Warner to make an interim payment to the players of more than $700,000, but Warner is yet to comply.

Warner previously made a $1million payment and said he has offered $2.3million to the players, whom he accused of being greedy after they demanded $3.9million.

Warner headed soccer’s North and Central American and Caribbean governing body for almost 30 years until his 2011 resignation.  FIFA cannot discipline him while he remains in exile from world soccer, but has said it will withhold his pension payments.

In a brief response to reporters after the soccer federation announced its planned lawsuit, Warner said:  “That is their right to do so.  Let us see what happens.”

Warner, a prominent member of Trinidad’s ruling party, serves as the country’s Minister of Works.  Prime Minister  Kamla Persad-Bissessar said Friday that authorities are investigating several projects launched by his ministry

 

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