Countersuit threatened in CONCACAF claim against former Trinidad minister
By Caribbean News Now contributor
NEW YORK, USA — Following a lawsuit filed in US federal court in New York by the regional FIFA body, the Confederation of North, Central American, and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), claiming damages of US$20 million against former officials Austin ‘Jack’ Warner and Charles ‘Chuck’ Blazer, Warner, a former Trinidad and Tobago Cabinet minister, said he has instructed his attorney to file a US$40 million countersuit.
Warner, a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, is the former president of CONCACAF from 1990 through 2011 and, from 1983 through 2011, he also served as the president of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU). He is also a former FIFA vice-president.
Blazer, a US citizen, is the former general secretary of CONCACAF from 1990 through 2011.
Warner and Blazer each served as members of the FIFA Executive Committee.
According to the complaint filed by CONCACAF, Warner and Blazer, inter alia:
1. Engaged in a pattern of racketeering to enrich themselves personally and defraud CONCACAF by accepting bribes from media rights companies;
2. Operated an elaborate scheme to embezzle and launder illicit funds using sham consulting agreements to pay commissions using CONCACAF funds derived from media rights agreements;
3. Engaged in fraud and deprived CONCACAF of their honest services by accepting US$10 million in bribes in exchange for casting their votes in favour of South Africa’s bid to host the 2010 World Cup.
Blazer has pleaded guilty to criminal racketeering and other charges in this regard.
Warner is currently fighting extradition proceedings in Trinidad to face similar criminal charges in US federal court.
CONCACAF is seeking compensatory damages of not less than $20 million; treble, and/or punitive damages as well as interest; and its costs, expenses, and attorneys fees.
Warner responded in a press statement saying that he has instructed his attorney-at-law to file a lawsuit against “CONCACAF and its de facto American president,
Sunil Gulati, in his personal capacity”, in the sum of US$40 million (“double theirs”) for the “persistent defamation” of his character.
According to Warner, “these false allegations filed in an American court” are simply because the US did not obtain the votes to host a FIFA World Cup.