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The U.S. formally requested the extradition Wednesday of Trinidad and Tobago lawmaker Jack Warner, the former FIFA vice president at the center of the world soccer corruption scandal, the country's attorney general said.
An extradition hearing is scheduled July 27, Attorney General Garvin Nicholas said at a news conference Wednesday night in Port of Spain carried by Trinidadian TV and the Caribbean news agency C-News.
"The process is now for me to examine the documentation and consider the evidence and decide whether to issue the authority to proceed," Nicholas said.
Warner, 72, has been free on bail after he was provisionally arrested when the U.S. said it would seek his extradition on charges of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy.
Extradition is by no means a given. Warner, the former No. 2 man at world soccer's governing body, is leader of Trinidad's Independent Liberal Party as well as a member of Parliament, potentially raising delicate diplomatic issues.
And Warner has also threatened to release an "avalanche" of documents detailing financial transactions that he says link Sepp Blatter, who is stepping down as FIFA's president, with alleged corruption in Trinidad's 2010 national election.
Nicholas insisted that politics wouldn't affect the extradition decision.
"The matter has absolutely nothing to do with politics, absolutely nothing to do with politics," he said. "This is an extradition request that was made by the United States government. We've dealt with several extraditions over the last few months."
Warner is one of 14 top FIFA and soccer marketing officials charged in a 47-count indictment U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced in May alleging that they exploited their positions to take more than $150 million in bribes over 24 years.
Jeffrey Webb, another former FIFA vice president and former president of the regional confederation that includes the U.S., pleaded not guilty in New York on Saturday and was released on $10 million bond.
The highest-ranking American involved in the investigation, Chuck Blazer, an influential former member of FIFA's executive committee, agreed to pay at least $2.5 million — plus back taxes and penalties on millions of dollars of unreported income — in a plea deal that was unsealed last month.
And 79-year-old Blatter, FIFA's president since 1998, announced his resignation last month, a week after he was re-elected to a new four-year term. FIFA has set an election to replace him for next February.