Trinidad MP charged by US with four fraud and bribery schemes

The documentary evidence sent to the authorities in Port of Spain, which forms part of the US Department of Justice’s case against Warner, a former Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) vice president, details how he allegedly abused his position and power as an executive of FIFA and other related bodies. 

After being arrested in Trinidad at the request of the US, Warner is currently free on $2.5 million bail (US$397,000) pending extradition to the US to face charges in connection with the alleged US$150 million bribery scheme that spanned 24 years.

The 47-count indictment alleges that, between 1991 and the present, the defendants and their co-conspirators corrupted football’s governing body by engaging in various criminal activities, including fraud, bribery and money laundering. 

US authorities allege that Warner committed violations of wire fraud, money laundering and Travel Act statutes in four separate schemes:

Sale of CONCACAF television and marketing rights

(1) As part of his participation in the racketeering conspiracy, Warner agreed that he/and/or others would commit violations of the wire fraud, money laundering and Travel Act statutes in connection with the sale of television and marketing rights to the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Gold Cup tournament. 

In connection with this scheme, Warner and the then-serving general secretary of CONCACAF, American Chuck Blazer, agreed to accept bribes from executives of the Traffic Group, a global sports-marketing company, and Inter Forever Sports, a Miami, Florida-based affiliate of the Traffic Group, including Jose Hawilla, a Brazilian sports marketing executive.

Warner and Blazer agreed to accept the bribes in return for selling the media and marketing rights to the Gold Cup, which were owned by CONCACAF, to Inter/Forever Sports. 

In accepting the bribes, which were not disclosed to FIFA or CONCACAF, Warner deprived those entities and their constituent organisations of their right to his honest service which he owed them, respectively, especially as a member of the FIFA executive committee and CONCACAF’s president. 

In furtherance of the scheme, Warner, Blazer and others used the wire facilities of the US to transmit payments, including bribe payments from bank accounts in the US to accounts held by Warner and Blazer outside of the US. 

Sale of World Cup qualifier media and marketing rights


(2) As part of his participation in the racketeering conspiracy, Warner agreed that he and/or others would commit violations of the wire fraud, Travel Act and money laundering statutes in connection with the sale of the media and marketing rights to World Cup qualifier matches played by Caribbean Football Union (CFU) teams in advance of multiple editions of the World Cup. 

As president of the CFU, Warner conducted negotiations for the sale of the rights held by all CFU member associations, on behalf of CFU, with Traffic USA executives in Miami, Florida. 

In connection with this scheme, Warner directed executives of Traffic USA to create two sets of contracts. 

One contract purported to be between Traffic USA and CFU for the sale of the rights owned by CFU members, including the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF). 

The other purported to be a contract between Traffic USA and TTFF, alone, for the sale of the same TTFF rights included in the first contract. 

Rather than paying the full value of CFU’s contract to CFU and its member associations, Traffic USA executives, at Warner’s request, diverted a substantial portion of that value to an account controlled by Warner, purportedly as payment on Traffic USA’s contract with TTFF. 

Warner concealed the existence of the TTFF contract, as well as payments made by Traffic USA pursuant to that contract, from the CFU member federation. 

Warner, CW3 and others used the wire facilities of the US to effectuate this scheme to defraud the CFU member associations (including those of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands), by transmitting funds in furtherance of this scheme from banks in the US to banks outside of the US. 

The funds, which were transferred with the intent of promoting the carrying on of this unlawful scheme, were sent by wire transfer from a Traffic USA account at a bank in the US to an account at a bank in Trinidad and Tobago. 

Funds from the account in Trinidad were periodically transferred into another account held in Warner’s name. 

Award of 2010 World Cup


(3) As part of his participation in the racketeering conspiracy, Warner agreed that he and/or others would commit violations of the wire fraud, money laundering and Travel Act statutes in connection with the selection of the host nation for the 2010 World Cup. 

In connection with this scheme, Warner agreed to accept a $10 million bribe in exchange for the agreement of Warner, Blazer and another CONCACAF official to cast their votes as members of the FIFA executive committee for South Africa to be the host nation for the 2010 World Cup. 

In accepting the bribe, which was not disclosed to FIFA or CONCACAF, Warner deprived those entities and their constituent organisations of their rights to his honest services, which he owed them respectively, as a vice-president on the FIFA executive committee and as CONCACAF’s president. 

In furtherance of the scheme, Warner, Blazer and others used the wire facilities of the US to, among other things, transmit bribe payments from bank accounts outside of the US to accounts inside the US. 

2011 FIFA presidential election


(4) As part of his participation in the racketeering conspiracy, Warner agreed that he and/or others would commit violations of the wire fraud, money laundering and Travel Act statutes in connection with the 2011 FIFA presidential election. 

In connection with this scheme, Warner agreed to facilitate bribes by a FIFA official and a candidate for the office of FIFA president in 2011, to representatives of the CFU member associations. 

The bribes were distributed at the direction of Warner at a meeting in May 2011 held in Trinidad and Tobago. 

In agreeing to facilitate the bribes, Warner schemed to deprive FIFA, CONCACAF, CFU and their constituent organisations of their rights to honest services. 

Warner used the wire facilities of the US, including e-mail, in furtherance of this scheme, in violation of the wire fraud statute. 

The scheme also contemplated the transport of bribe payments from Trinidad and Tobago into the US in violation of the money laundering and Travel Act statutes. 

Guilty Pleas


Warner’s sons, Daryll and Daryan Warner, have already pleaded guilty to US corruption charges in exchange for reduced jail time.

Daryll Warner waived indictment on July 15, 2013, and pleaded guilty to a two-count information charging him with wire fraud and the structuring of financial transactions. 

Three months later, on October 25, 2013, Daryan Warner also 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. 

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.

The Warner brothers were among a group of individuals who previously pleaded guilty under seal. 

Other Defendants


On November 25, 2013, Charles Blazer, the former CONCACAF general secretary and a former FIFA executive committee member, waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a ten-count information charging him with racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, income tax evasion and failure to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). Blazer forfeited over $1.9 million at the time of his plea and has agreed to pay a second amount to be determined at the time of sentencing. 

On December 12, 2014, José Hawilla, the owner and founder of the Traffic Group, a Brazilian sports marketing conglomerate, waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a four-count information charging him with racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Hawilla also agreed to forfeit over $151 million, $25 million of which was paid at the time of his plea.

On May 14, 2015, Traffic Sports USA Inc and Traffic Sports International Inc pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy.


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