Former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner, who has been accused of soliciting bribes as part of a vast corruption case against senior soccer officials, left jail in Trinidad and Tobago via ambulance on Thursday after he was granted bail, according to local media.
PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO (MAY 28, 2015) (REUTERS) – Former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner railed against the organization’s leader Sepp Blatter and the U.S. on Thursday (May 28), in his first press conference since being released from jail on bail.
“Nobody has brought more shame to FIFA than Blatter himself,” Warner said. Blatter, the head of FIFA, has rejected calls to resign as a the global body governing soccer battles a massive corruption scandal
Warner said members of FIFA’s congress were beholden to Blatter.
“They have a vested interest and Blatter knows how to play the game and FIFA with a 5.7 billion dollar treasury, this is chicken feed guys, chicken feed.”
Warner is among nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives charged by the U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday with running a criminal enterprise that involved more than $150 million in bribes.
Warned accused the U.S. of launching a “witch-hunt.”
“The Americans are trying to put the hood on FIFA since they didn’t get the World Cup in 2022….it’s personal.”
He went on to add, “America believes that they have some divine right to get the World Cup or anything else, and they don’t believe that a country like Qatar, a small country, a Muslim country has a right to the World Cup.”
Once one of the most powerful men in FIFA, Warner surrendered to authorities on Wednesday (May 27) after U.S. officials sought his extradition.
Prosecutors say Warner solicited bribes worth $10 million from the South African government to host the 2010 World Cup and diverted bribes for personal use.
Warner issued a statement protesting his innocence on Wednesday as FIFA reeled from police raids in Switzerland and the United States, as well as a second investigation opened by the Swiss authorities into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Warner faces 12 charges included racketeering and bribery.