The Slatest

Report: U.S. Believes FIFA’s Jack Warner Took Haiti Earthquake Money for “Personal Use”

Jack Warner at a FIFA event in 2011.

Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty

In 2012, soccer figures in bombastic ex-FIFA big-shot Jack Warner’s home country (Trinidad & Tobago) blamed him for the loss of $750,000 in Haiti earthquake relief funds that had gone missing, announcing that the donated money had been paid into accounts that he controlled before it was lost. The BBC now reports that United States authorities—who have indicted Warner—are also making that claim as part of their wider inquiry into FIFA. From the network’s report:

Papers seen by the BBC contain allegations of wire fraud totalling $750,000—emergency aid money sent from FIFA and the Korean FA for victims of the earthquake. But investigators claim that it was transferred into accounts controlled by Warner at “Warner’s direction” for his “personal use.” And four years on the money is still unaccounted for.

Warner was arrested in Trinidad in May and the U.S. is seeking his extradition; the BBC says American prosecutors’ investigation covers 75 (!) different bank accounts that Warner controlled.

In other Warner news, FIFA’s dubious claim that it did not participate in the “initiation, approval and implementation” of a $10 million transaction between Warner and the South African government has been further undermined by the publication of a 2007 letter in which FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke confirmed that the money would be “transferred to the FIFA account in Zurich for FIFA to administer.” The money, given to Warner under the auspices of a “diaspora legacy programme” for Caribbean soccer development, is thought to have been a bribe related to South Africa’s successful bid to host the 2010 World Cup.