Behind Jack

kamla wants official confirmation of warner link in fbi probe, inspite of media reports

PORT OF SPAIN — In the face of an international report linking National Security Minister Jack Warner to a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday said she would not rely on published reports in the media.

The prime minister, the only person who can take action, is waiting.

In a statement hours after the story broke on reputable news agency Reuters, Persad-Bissessar said she would “again seek to get official corroboration of the information now in the public domain before making any determination or pronouncement”.

The prime minister has steadfastly maintained she was not aware, even with rumours swirling within the national community, that a minister’s son was being questioned by the FBI and could not leave the United States jurisdiction.

Miami visit

Senior Caribbean Communications Network investigative journalist Mark Bassant earlier this month visited Miami, where he interviewed Warner’s son, Daryan Warner, who denied he was under house arrest and refused to answer questions on whether there was an investigation involving him.

The Reuters report has again turned the glare of public attention on the People’s Partnership administration and its leadership capacity.

According to the Reuters report, which is being transmitted all over the world, an FBI probe into alleged corruption in international football has “intensified” because a “key party” has become a “cooperating witness”.

The report names Daryan Warner as the witness. It said US law enforcement sources would not say who might be charged, if anybody, or when.

But the report is the most authoritative and specific revelation linking Warner to the FBI probe.

Matters under scrutiny

“While the exact scope of the investigation is not clear, among the matters under scrutiny are two previously reported allegations involving Jack Warner, who is currently National Security Minister in his native Trinidad and Tobago,” the Reuters report stated.

The report said the Internal Revenue Service had joined in the investigation, which was looking into potential violations of US tax laws and of US anti-fraud statutes, including laws prohibiting wire fraud and mail fraud.

“It’s shaping up like a major case,” the report quoted one official as saying.

Warner is no ordinary member of the government. Apart from being the National Security Minister, he is chairman of the United National Congress and a member of the National Security Council, which is responsible for the coordination of intelligence and information shared with various international agencies, including the United States, and which has oversight of all the national investigative agencies.

The Reuters report said that at least since the summer of 2011, the FBI had been examining more than US$500,000 (TT$3.2 million) in payments made by the Caribbean Football Union over the past 20 years (the same period Warner headed the CFU) to an offshore company headed by US football official Chuck Blazer. (Express)

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