By TOM GIUSTO, KATHERINE FAULDERS and BENJAMIN L. BELL
“Given the injury is near the site of his prior hip surgery, he will return to Boston today to seek treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital with his doctor who did the prior surgery,” a State Department spokesman said in a statement.
Kerry is stable and never lost consciousness. He is expected to make a full recovery.
The State Department says the incident happened this morning while Kerry was bicycling near Scionzier, France. Paramedics and a physician were on the scene with the secretary’s motorcade at the time of the accident.
Kerry was transported via medical helicopter to the University Hospital of Geneva.
“Secretary Kerry is in good spirits and is grateful to the French and Swiss authorities, doctors, and nurses who assisted him after the accident,” the department spokesman said.
He had been scheduled to travel to Spain today to meet with King Felipe VI, President Rajoy, and Foreign Minister Garcia-Margallo to discuss a range of bilateral and global issues, followed by a Tuesday trip to Paris, to lead the U.S. delegation to the Counter-ISIL Coalition Small Group Ministerial.
“The Secretary very much regrets not being able to visit Spain to meet with one of our close allies for discussions on a range of issues, as well as being unable to attend the counter-ISIL coalition ministerial meeting on Tuesday in Paris in person. The Secretary plans to participate in the counter-ISIL coalition meeting remotely,” the State Department spokesman said.
By MICHAEL D. SHEARMAY 30, 2015
WASHINGTON — Joseph R. Biden III, the former attorney general of Delaware and the eldest son of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., has died of brain cancer, his father announced on Saturday. The younger Mr. Biden was 46.
Mr. Biden had spent more than a week receiving treatment at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington.
In a statement Saturday night, the vice president said: “It is with broken hearts that Hallie, Hunter, Ashley, Jill and I announce the passing of our husband, brother and son, Beau, after he battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life.”
“In the words of the Biden family: Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known.”
In 2010, the younger Mr. Biden, known as Beau, had suffered what officials described as a mild stroke. Three years later, he was admitted to the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston after what White House officials described at the time as “an episode of disorientation and weakness.”
Officials said in 2013 that the doctors in Texas had removed a small lesion from his brain.
Mr. Biden’s death marks a second tragic loss for the vice president, whose first wife, Neilia, and 13-month-old daughter, Naomi, were killed in a car accident in 1972 when the station wagon they were driving in to go Christmas shopping was hit by a tractor-trailer. Beau Biden and his brother, Hunter, were also injured in the crash, but both survived.
A popular Democratic politician in his home state who was known to be very close to his father, Mr. Biden served two terms as Delaware’s top law enforcement official before announcing last year that he would not run for a third term so he could make a bid for governor in 2016.
“What started as a thought — a very persistent thought — has now become a course of action that I wish to pursue,” Mr. Biden wrote in an open letter to his constituents in April 2014.
As recently as late February, some Delaware politicians close to Mr. Biden told news organizations that they still believed Mr. Biden planned to run for governor in 2016.
But Mr. Biden’s health had apparently declined in recent weeks, and he was taken to Walter Reed on May 20.
A handsome, energetic politician whose broad smile mirrored that of his father, Mr. Biden appeared to be a natural to follow his father’s path toward national political success.
A lawyer by training, Mr. Biden joined the Delaware National Guard in 2003, serving as a major in the Judge Advocate General Corps. His unit was deployed to Iraq in 2008, while his father was running for vice president.
In a short, emotional speech introducing his father at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Mr. Biden recalled the tragedy that had touched his family, describing the moments after the crash.
“One of my earliest memories was being in that hospital, Dad always at our side. We, not the Senate, were all he cared about,” Mr. Biden said. “He decided not to take the oath of office. He said, ‘Delaware can get another senator, but my boys can’t get another father.’ However, great men like Ted Kennedy, Mike Mansfield, Hubert Humphrey — men who had been tested themselves — convinced him to serve. So he was sworn in, in the hospital, at my bedside.”
Many in Delaware expected Mr. Biden to run for his father’s Senate seat after the 2008 election, but the younger Biden, who was elected attorney general in 2006, declined, saying he was still needed in his state as he pressed ahead on a major child molestation case his agency was pursuing against a pediatrician.
“I have a duty to fulfill as attorney general, and the immediate need to focus on a case of great consequence. And that is what I must do.”
Instead, he ran for re-election in 2010, serving a second term before deciding to seek higher office.
Mr. Biden is survived by his wife, Hallie, and two children.
President Obama said in a statement that he was grieving for the vice president and his family.
“For all that Beau Biden achieved in his life, nothing made him prouder, nothing made him happier, nothing claimed a fuller focus of his love and devotion than his family,” Mr. Obama said. “Just like his dad.”
Mr. Obama called the vice president “one of the strongest men” he had ever known and offered a quote from the poet, William Butler Yeats. “I have believed the best of every man,” Yeats wrote, “and find that to believe it is enough to make a bad man show him at his best or even a good man swing his lantern higher.”
“Beau Biden believed the best of us all. For him, and for his family, we swing our lanterns higher.”
Bolivia’s government on Friday handed over fugitive businessman Martin Belaunde Lossio, who was captured the day before in Bolivia’s Amazon region after escaping house arrest last weekend.
Belaunde, a former adviser to Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, is wanted in his homeland on corruption charges.
The fugitive businessman was turned over to Peruvian authorities at the international border crossing in Desaguadero, some 100 kilometers (62 miles) west of La Paz.
“Bolivia won’t be a refuge for corrupt individuals or criminals,” President Evo Morales said in a brief statement to reporters after the suspect was extradited.
Belaunde, Humala’s campaign manager during his unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 2006, escaped house arrest after the Bolivian Supreme Court ordered his imminent extradition to Peru to face charges including embezzlement, criminal conspiracy and money laundering.
Among other crimes, the suspect allegedly accepted bribes in return for helping private companies secure contracts with regional governments.
Police and army soldiers captured the Peruvian businessman Thursday afternoon in the northeastern jungle town of Magdalena, near Bolivia’s border with Brazil.
Bolivia’s new interior minister, Carlos Romero, said the Peruvian was hiding under a bed when authorities located him, adding that he was in perfect health and “did not have a scratch” on him at the time of his arrest.
Belaunde, however, said in a telephone interview from an undisclosed location shortly after his disappearance that he had been kidnapped on Sunday in La Paz and fled his captors by jumping out of a moving car.
Morales fired his interior minister, Hugo Moldiz, and the chief of Bolivia’s National Police, Luis Cerruto, after Belaunde’s escape from house arrest.
Bolivian authorities have arrested 14 people over the incident, including police who were responsible for guarding the residence and are expected of aiding and abetting Belaunde’s escape. EFE
BY HANNAH DREIER
Associated PressMay 30, 2015
CARACAS, VENEZUELA — Thousands donned white and took to the streets in cities across the country Saturday in the biggest show of frustration with Venezuela’s socialist administration since a wave of bloody anti-government protests a year ago.
The day of marches was called less than a week ago by imprisoned opposition leader Leopoldo López. In a video leaked from his prison cell, López urged demonstrations to demand a firm date for this year’s legislative elections and freedom for jailed opposition politicians like himself who human rights groups consider political prisoners.
A Harvard-educated former mayor, López has been jailed for 15 months in connection with his leadership of the spring of 2014 protests that resulted in dozens of deaths on both sides of Venezuela’s yawning political divide.
The opposition coalition did not endorse Saturday’s rallies, underscoring longstanding fissures among critics of the country’s 16-year socialist government. Before his imprisonment last year, López clashed with other high-profile politicians, including moderate opposition leader Henrique Capriles, about the wisdom of organizing nationwide protests.
Capriles, who came close to beating President Nicolás Maduro in the 2013 presidential election, led a march through the inland town that is home to a prison where former opposition mayor Daniel Ceballos was transferred from a military jail last week.
In Caracas, a sea of sweltering protesters shut down a main thoroughfare in wealthy eastern Caracas for hours, slurping up sweetened crushed ice, shading themselves with umbrellas and waving flags among the mango trees and half-finished buildings.
Ceballos’ wife, Patricia, who won a landslide election victory to replace her husband as mayor of the restive western city of San Cristóbal was a crowd favorite.
“They’ll never divide us. Don’t ask, don’t beg; demand freedom,” she shouted, prompting the blocks of protesters to chant back “liberty!”
Other opposition leaders stood under a banner reading “Venezuela United for Change” and shaved their heads in solidarity Ceballos, whose hair was reportedly cut off when he was transferred.
María Fernanda Zerpa, a student wearing a tie-dye T-shirt and peace sign necklace, had shaved her head, too. She came out to support López, who opinion polls peg as Venezuela’s most popular politician, but she doesn’t trust the rest of the opposition coalition and has little interest in the coming elections.
“The elections are like whatever, because we know the people who run them have been bought by the government. And Capriles is a scaredy-cat who didn’t fight Maduro for the presidency,” she said.
Protesters were most eager to talk about the country’s pervasive problems of shortages, inflation and violent crime, the same issues that fueled last year’s demonstrations and have worsened in the months since.
López has hardly been seen since his arrest, and the short video calling the day of protest electrified his supporters in a way other calls to take to the streets in the past months have not.
Venezuela blocked two conservative former Latin American presidents from visiting López or Ceballos this week. State ombudsman Tarek Saab said the former Bolivian and Colombian presidents were wrongly attempting to give Venezuela condescending “human rights classes.”
On Friday, Maduro warned that top Caracas police officials would be imprisoned if they allowed violence to break out during Saturday’s march.
“There are two Venezuelas: the bloodthirsty, coup-mongering ultra-right wing minority, and the majority that loves their country,” he said.
For Franz Yustiz, who brought his grandchildren to the Caracas protest, a coup sounded like just the thing.
“They need to send in the in marines quick, come what will,” said Yustiz, who works as a bodyguard, a profession that has exploded as violent crime soars here. “I’m so fed up. I want my grandchildren to know true democracy.”
Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2015/05/30/3816913/venezuelans-mass-for-years-largest.html#storylink=cpy
By Ricardo Blackman
The governments of Jamaica and the United Kingdom have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) aimed at strengthening co-operation in the fight against the illicit drug trade. The three-year MOU. Which allows for the sharing of information and the provision of human resources and equipment by the UK to Jamaica, is an update of an agreement , signed some two years ago. Minister of National Security, Peter Bunting, in his remarks at the signing ceremony, held on Thursday at his offices in Kingston, said the renewal of the MOU is yet another concrete demonstration of the strong bonds between Jamaica and the United Kingdom.
Dateline St. John’s:
On May 22nd, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the third post-programme monitoring discussions with Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua and Barbuda is experiencing moderate economic recovery, but fiscal performance has been weaker than expected. The economic recovery continues to be tepid, with real GDP growth estimated at 2.4% in 2014. A weakening tourist arrivals in the fourth quarter continued in the first few months of 2015 and is expected to reduce growth to 2.1% in 2015.
Dateline Port of Spain:
Member of Parliament, Jack Warner, at a public meeting on Thursday night, declared that “the gloves are off” in relation to the Trinidad and Tobago government and portrayed himself as a victim, along with Opposition leader, Dr. Keith Rowley. The former FIFA Vice President who was arrested on Wednesday, following his indictment in the United States on racketeering, corruption and money laundering charges, said that he intends to go after Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and reveal all by means of a video tape that he will give to four lawyers. “I want to tell Kamla that as from tonite, the gloves are off” Warner said. Meanwhile, Caymanian, Jeffrey Webb, the erstwhile President of Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) is reportedly one of six (6) officials arrested on Wednesday in Zurich that are contesting the extradition to the United States. Following his indictment and arrest on Wednesday, the regional football body dismissed Webb as president and appointed senior vice president, Alfredo Hawit in his place. Eduardo Li, an executive member of CONCACAF and Costa Rica’s football chief, has also been sacked.
CABLE & WIRELESS (C&W) is targeting major growth in Barbados and the region now that it has received the green light and is merging with former rival Columbus.
C&W Communications (CWC) chief executive officer Phil Bentley said the company would be leveraging LIME’s dominance in the mobile market and FLOW’s strength in television and video content delivery. All of this will be done under the FLOW name and signature blue colour because CWC has decided to abandon the LIME brand.
Bentley, speaking last week in a conference call with journalists from Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, said even before the acquisition and merger, CWC was “showing some good progress”.
“For the first time in a long time, probably as many of you can remember, we have actually seen some growth in Cable & Wireless Communications. Revenue, our top line growth, grew by four percentage points and that was encouraging to see, and actually, if we took into account the Jamaican dollar devaluation and equalised that, that would have been five percentage points.”
“We have been spending a lot of money. We spent US$442 million in the last 12 months upgrading our networks and that was one of the priorities I set when I came into the company a year ago. I am pleased to say that in every market we now have 4G but equally now we have started to roll out Latest Technology Evolution.”
Bentley also said the company’s customer service was improving, pointing to fewer customer complaints and the reality that “we are getting better at resolving any queries that our customers have got”.
“We have introduced self-service kiosks in Barbados and they have been proving very popular, helping people to save a bit of time when paying bills, and we have been starting to modernise our stores,” he said. (SC)
– See more at: http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/67821/-mission-dominate#sthash.0pZvVupW.dpuf
HEATHER-LYNN EVANSON, firstname.lastname@example.org
Added 30 May 2015
GAY MARRIAGES will never get the support of Youth, Sport and Culture Minister Stephen Lashley.
And he is prepared to take any flack for voicing his opposition to such unions that are being accepted in an increasing number of countries.
Lashley, who stressed he was opposed to same-sex marriages and would remain so, was speaking to members of the media after addressing a Barbados Workers’ Union Youth Congress opening ceremony at the BWU’s Solidarity House headquarters.
Lashley charged that Barbadians and Barbados had “gone soft” on many issues and the morality of the island’s youth was now under question because “we are not firm on who we are and I think that is the real crux of the matter”.
Please read the full story in today’s Saturday Sun, or in the eNATION edition.
– See more at: http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/68037/gay-vow#sthash.9iias49B.dpuf
Added by Barbados Today on May 30, 2015.
International credit ratings agency Moody’s is reporting that an accelerating economic recovery in the Caribbean should lead to an improvement in the credit quality of regional governments. However, it pointed to increasing debt pressures in the case of Barbados and neighboring St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Moody’s Investors Services, in its Sovereign Outlook report headlined “Caribbean Sovereign Credit Quality Supported by Recovery in Tourism, Low Oil Prices”, said median growth in the region was 1.5 per cent in 2014 and should accelerate to two per cent this year.
“In addition, government debt, which rose following the financial crisis, is slowly stabilizing or, in some cases, declining, putting average sovereign debt metrics on par with those in Latin America,” the report said.
It went on: “Debt ratios are stabilizing in Belize, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Bermuda, Saint Maarten and Trinidad. However, debt pressures are increasing in Barbados and St. Vincent, while they are easing in the Cayman Islands. Nevertheless, the overall stabilization in debt levels in the region will help support current rating levels over the next 12-18 months.
“The pickup in the tourism industry is credit positive for the Bahamas (Baa2 stable), Barbados (B3 negative), Belize (Caa2, stable), Bermuda (A1 stable), Cayman Islands (Aa3, stable), Jamaica (Caa3 positive), St. Maarten (Baa1 stable), St. Vincent and the Grenadines (B3 negative), because their economies depend heavily on tourism.”
Moody’s said the tourism recovery largely reflected improving economic conditions in the US and would continue to depend on the strength of the recoveries in the US and the UK through 2016.
“Although the rebound in tourism will help all Caribbean nations that rely on this industry, the individual credit effects will reflect each country’s dependence on this industry,” said Gabriel Torres, a Moody’s Vice President and Senior Credit Officer.
Barbados, Belize, the Bahamas and St. Maarten are most dependent on tourism.
Moody’s said lower oil prices had also helped to spur tourist growth, with fuel costs for airlines dropping significantly in 2014, and were expected to continue their decline in 2015. The decline in oil prices was also seen as supporting domestic demand and consumer spending by easing current and expected inflation levels.
“However, lower oil prices are credit negative for Trinidad & Tobago,” Moody’s said. “The sharp drop in energy prices will significantly reduce government revenues, the current account surplus and foreign direct investment flows,”
It noted that while Belize was a net oil-importing country, the decline in its petroleum production would have a significant negative effect on government finance.
The rise and fall of Trinidad’s Jack Warner, the former teacher at the center of the FIFA allegations
It was May 11, 2011, and “Trinidad Jack,” as reporters call him, was holding court.
From his perch atop a raised table at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Port-of-Spain, the capital of Trinidad and Tobago, Jack Warner tried to quell the revolt within the ranks of the Caribbean Football Union. The day before, Warner had doled out brown paper envelopes with $40,000 in them to each of the union’s 25 visiting members. The money, he now explained, came from Mohamed bin Hammam, a Qatari businessman running against Sepp Blatter for FIFA’s presidency.
Someone in the crowd, however, had called headquarters to complain. The media would be asking questions. So Warner wanted to set things straight: The cash wasn’t a bribe, he said, but a “gift” from Hammam. The Qatari had “fresh ideas.” The Caribbean could hand him the presidency, as long as it voted as a bloc.
“Any country that doesn’t want the gift has the right to give it back to him,” Warner said of the payments. “I know there are some people here who believe they are more pious than thou. If you are pious, go to a church, friends, but the fact is our business is our business.”
Two weeks later, news broke about the Caribbean cash. “Fifa in crisis after claims against Jack Warner and Mohamed bin Hammam,” reported the Guardian. The Telegraph obtained video of Warner’s speech. Bin Hammam pulled out of the election and was banned from FIFA for life. Warner abruptly retired from his positions as FIFA’s vice president and head of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).
In hindsight, the headlines almost seem quaint. If that was a crisis, then this week’s massive crackdown on FIFA is the soccer apocalypse. On Wednesday morning, U.S. prosecutors unsealed a 47-count indictment accusing Warner and other world soccer figures of a $150 million bribery and racketeering scheme. Swiss officials pulled seven FIFA officials out of their swanky Zurich hotel and arrested them. The indictment also mentions 75 unnamed “co-conspirators,” raising the possibility that others remain under investigation.
Warner and the alleged secret payments in Port-of-Spain both feature prominently in the indictment. In many ways, the man is the most visible face in the ongoing FIFA scandal. His arrest on Wednesday is a stunning twist to the Trinidadian’s already remarkable story. His rise from a classroom to sporting power and his spectacular fall from football grace say much about how the world’s most popular game is run, and what ails it.
Before he was one of the most powerful men in sports, Jack Warner was a schoolteacher from a small city in a tiny country. “Warner was born, in his own words, ‘a poor black boy’ in Rio Claro in the south of the island,” according to an excerpt from Andrew Jennings’s 2006 book “Foul!: The Secret World of FIFA: Bribes, Vote Rigging and Ticket Scandals.”
“Jack trained as a teacher, agitated briefly in Trinidad’s Black Power movement, and then spotted a bigger opportunity: football,” Jennings wrote in a book excerpt in the Daily Mail. “Warner saw that the Caribbean Football Union offered a stepping stone to greater power. In 1983, he ran successfully for the presidency and that gave him an automatic seat on FIFA’s executive. In a biography he commissioned for himself in 1998, this was described as ‘a step that created major revenue earning opportunities.’”
In 1989, Warner was involved in his first big soccer controversy. Trinidad and Tobago was one point away from qualifying for the 1990 World Cup. As head of the country’s soccer federation, Warner “printed thousands of extra tickets and ignored rules forbidding alcohol sales at the stadium,” according to Jennings. The stadium was dangerously overcrowded. When Trinidad lost, an angry public demanded answers. Warner later admitted to newspapers that he sold an extra 5,000 tickets.
But Warner was saved by Chuck Blazer, vice president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, who recruited the Trinidadian to run for president of CONCACAF, according to Jennings and the indictment. It was a position that offered the schoolteacher and part-time soccer administrator tremendous power, and not only over its members. With 35 members across North America, Central America and the Caribbean, CONCACAF is a formidable force in FIFA.
Warner quit his position at Port-of-Spain’s Polytechnic Institute and devoted himself to transforming Trinidad and CONCACAF. He established an official office on the tiny island and built a $16 million state-of-the-art soccer facility — on land that he owned. (When CONCACAF later filed litigation against him over the land, Warner called it a “political vendetta” against him.)
“As Blazer and Jack Warner steadily grew CONCACAF, the number of CONCACAF’s staff grew as well,” according to a 2013 internal report. “Eventually, CONCACAF’s New York office occupied an entire floor in the Trump Tower, which included a full broadcast studio.”
Under Warner and Blazer, the business of soccer boomed in both the United States and the Caribbean. “Blazer and Warner also made money for CONCACAF, transforming it from a rickety assemblage of soccer groups with an annual budget of $140,000 to a $40 million cash cow on sponsorship, media and vendor contracts that Blazer negotiated,” according to the New York Daily News.
But success and allegations of scandal seemed to go hand-in-hand for Warner. In 2004, he helped arrange a friendly match between Scotland and Trinidad and Tobago. After the game, Warner requested that the $75,000 proceeds check be made out to his personal account, the head of the Scottish Football Association claimed, according to the New York Times.
“In 2006, Warner was implicated in a public scandal involving the reselling of large blocks of tickets to the 2006 World Cup at inflated prices,” according to the 2013 CONCACAF report. “The tickets were made available to certain football officials by the FIFA ticket office with the understanding that, if they were resold, it would not be for more than face value. Investigations resulted in FIFA fining Warner’s son $1 million for reselling the tickets, which were acquired from FIFA under Warner’s name, through a travel agency owned by Warner and his family.” He was also accused of stiffing the Trinidadian soccer team out of its prize money. Warner denied all wrongdoing.
Warner emerged unscathed. Four years later, however, he was caught up in even uglier accusations. British and Trinidadian soccer officials accused him of misusing funds donated to help Haitian earthquake victims watch the World Cup. Again Warner proclaimed innocence and suggested the allegations were part of a conspiracy against him.
Then came the scandal that took him down and could possibly drag FIFA down with him. At the May 2011 conference at the Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain, Warner started his speech by making sure that there were no journalists present. “Is the media here?” he asked, before openly discussing the packets of Qatari cash he had doled out hours earlier to Caribbean soccer federations.
“So I am making the point here, folks, that it was given to you because [bin Hammam] could not bring the silver tray and a silver, some silver trinkets and so on, and some thing with Qatari sand,” he said. “So I said put a value on it and give the countries [cash], and the gift you get is for you to determine how best you want to use it for development for football in your country.”
Warner went on to praise bin Hammam and slam Sepp Blatter. The Caribbean had been slighted under the Swiss FIFA president, so why not try someone else? “Once bin Hammam loses, it means that is the end of any opponent” to Blatter, Warner warned. With the FIFA election only a few weeks away, he encouraged the Caribbean to vote as a bloc.
“If ever the power of FIFA is held in our hands, that time is now,” Warner said, according to the recorded speech. “And believe you me, it is not in the hands of CONCACAF, you know; it is the hands of the [Caribbean Football Union]. Mr. bin Hammam is dismissive of the seven members in Europe; he knows that he can’t get them. He knows that. He knows that he can’t get one or two in the Caribbean. But he also knows that if we decide how we vote as a group, as a bloc, he knows that will decide who wins. Right now he has about 90 votes; right now Sepp Blatter has 85 votes, count them. That is 180. FIFA has 209 members. Look and see what is happening. I tell you how important we are. And he cannot fritter that away. Never have we been so important as we are now. Never have we been so important as we are now, and we can’t just throw it away.”
When the story hit newspapers two weeks later, however, Warner’s plans fell apart. Bin Hammam pulled out, Blatter won reelection, and Warner resigned in disgrace — although not without his FIFA pension.
It appears as if that incident played a role in the sweeping indictment on Wednesday. The 2011 scandal started a bitter and public feud between not only Warner and Blatter, but also between Warner and his former close friend Chuck Blazer. When Caribbean countries complained about the cash bribes, “Blazer sent Warner an email warning him in code that ‘MBH’s ATMs (Mohammed bin Hammam’s money) were doing some damage and we need to talk … people are asking questions and I don’t know how to respond,’” according to the Daily News. “But Warner ignored Blazer’s plea for some kind of damage control and Blazer, seeing no other way to save himself, called FIFA in Zurich to report an apparent breach of ethics.”
But Blazer had his own problems, including failing to pay U.S. income taxes for over a decade. “Just months after Blazer blew the whistle on his friend, he was on a sidewalk in Midtown when his mobility scooter was blocked by a pair of agents from the IRS and FBI,” the Daily News reported. “The agents told him they could take him away in handcuffs, or he could cooperate. It took Blazer less than an hour to decide to cooperate.”
Blazer is believed to be “Co-conspirator #1″ in Wednesday’s indictment. He pleaded guilty to 10 counts including racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering in 2013, a plea that was sealed until this week, according to U.S. authorities. That same year, Warner’s own sons, Daryll and Daryan, also pleaded guilty to fraud. There was hardly any news of their arrests, either in the United States or Trinidad. But it was around that time that Warner quit the Trinidadian Parliament, where he had been a member since 2007.
Even as his own sons were secretly pleading guilty, however, Warner remained publicly unperturbed. Instead of disappearing, he founded the Independent Liberal Party. Promising “performance,” he won back his seat in Parliament. Outwardly, at least, it seemed as if “Trinidad Jack” would escape punishment.
But on Wednesday, officials in Switzerland and the United States sprang their trap, and the former soccer boss’s hours were numbered. He was indicted. He turned himself in to authorities but not before posting a defiant message proclaiming his innocence to his personal Web site, Warner TV. He posted $395,000 bond and will be released Thursday, according to the Guardian and local media.
Warner faces a series of felony charges, starting with the alleged secret payments in Port-of-Spain. According to the indictment, Warner also received millions in bribes for his efforts to secure World Cups for South Africa and Qatar.
In the early 2000s, Warner sent a family member “to fly to Paris, France and accept a briefcase containing bundles of U.S. currency in $10,000 stacks in a hotel room from… a high-ranking South African bid committee official. Hours after arriving in Paris, [the family member] boarded a return flight and carried the briefcase back to Trinidad and Tobago, where [the family member] provided it to Warner,” according to the indictment. Warner also later agreed to vote for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup in exchange for $10 million to “support the African diaspora,” the indictment says. When South Africa couldn’t pay the alleged bribe, FIFA did: “A high-ranking FIFA official caused payments of $616,000, $1,600,000, and $7,784,000 – totaling $10 million – to be wired from a FIFA account in Switzerland to a Bank of America correspondent account in New York, New York, for credit to accounts held in the names of CFU and CONCACAF, but controlled by the defendant Jack Warner.”
The indictment also accuses Warner of receiving huge wire transfers from Qatar shortly after supporting bin Hammam’s presidential campaign and the country’s bid for the 2022 World Cup: “On or about July 14, 2011, after the scheme had been uncovered and the defendant Jack Warner resigned from his soccer-related positions, Co-Conspirator #7 caused $1,211,980 to be wired from an account that he controlled at Doha Bank in Qatar, to a correspondent account at Citibank, for credit to an account held in Warner’s name at Intercommercial Bank in Trinidad and Tobago.”
Warner is now one of the faces of the alleged $150 million FIFA scandal, while his nemesis, Blatter, remains in charge of the organization.
Back in his 2011 speech, the Trinidadian claimed that the FIFA president knew about the “gifts.”
“What I am telling you here even Mr. Blatter is aware of,” Warner told the crowd at the Hyatt. “It’s no secret. I told Blatter also what he gets as well.”
Asked specifically about the “gifts,” Blatter denied any wrongdoing, according to the BBC.