OK, now why didn't one of you see this coming? On those unfortunate occasions when I miss the obvious, I rely on someone in the comments thread to point it out.Yet somehow either nobody saw it coming or, perhaps, everyone thought it was too obvious to mention
As the footballing world from Zurich to Port of Spain and everywhere in between waited with bated breath last evening for the Andrew Jennings bombshell from the OffShore Alert International Fraud Conference, the news wires were mysteriously silent.
Finally, just before midnight, the Trinidad Express - one of the few T&T media outlets that isn't owned by either Jack Warner or his political allies - posted A CRYPTIC MESSAGE on their website which ends:
"Yesterday, at the final day of the OffshoreAlert Financial Due Diligence Conference, Jennings delivered an address starting at approximately 4.15 p.m. The Express understands that as Jennings began his speech, the television feed to CNMG was lost.
What do you suppose could have caused this unfortunate glitch? Sunspots? A technician strike? Someone on a network computer log on to MLSRumors and suddenly everything just crashed?
We stupidly thought that Jack Warner was actually going to let everyone in T&T hear a speech on what a corrupt criminal he is. What naive fools we all must look like to him.
Sadly, there will be little comment in the T&T media. Opposition politicians won't mention it. Nobody will investigate. Because with Jack Warner, telling the truth about him and being able to prove it just don't matter.
It is irrefutably true that Jack Warner diverted 5500 prime tickets to 2006 World Cup games through his son Daryans' travel agency, Simpaul, where they were bundled with overpriced hotel rooms and airfare and sold at a whopping profit.
Daryan kited 5500 tickets, Darryl stole the players money.
FIFA's independent auditors, the scrupulously impeccable Ernst & Young, said he did. FIFAs' laughably titled "Ethics Committee" said he did. FIFA's excutive committee said he did and issued Jack a formal reprimand. Daryan was ordered to pay FIFA a US$1,000.000 fine for having broken pretty much every rule in the book (although he has apparently never paid a dime of it and no one is asking him to).
It's a cut and dried fact: Daryan kited World Cup tickets.
But if you have the audacity to mention it in public THE WARNER FAMILY WILL SUE THE PANTS OFF OF YOU and you'll find yourself staring at a demand from their lawyers for SUBSTANTIAL DAMAGES for libel and slander.
Care to go into a court battle against one of the weathiest and most powerful politicians in the country? Neither does anyone else.
So until the substance of Jennings presentation is made public - as surely it will be, just not in Trinidad and Tobago - we do have some solid glimpses of what he said.
We know for example that one of the slides he showed was a picture of a $500 check drawn on a CONCACAF account in a US bank that was sent to one of the T&T national team players in lieu of the roughly $200,000 that the T&TFF owes him according to an international sports court ruling.
According to the courageous LISANA LIBURD "Warner and T&TFF president Oliver Camps both denied knowledge of the payment", an absolutely ludicrous contention.
Yet the reason that Jennings showed that slide yesterday is the same reason that Warner claims he knows nothing about it, namely that it could be considered evidence of corporate fraud, and one committed using a US bank which invites the interest of Federal Bank Examiners, the IRS and the US Justice Department since,
"Warner was using funds from an American bank in CONCACAF’s name to make such payments. It would appear to be improper use of CONCACAF funds."
A slim reed? Most certainly, but as any prosecutor will tell you, RICO cases are built on dozens of such predicates: by themselves they're seemingly minor, but stacked together they demonstrate a pattern which constitutes, by definition, "organized crime".
Which is the direction that we're told Jennings was headed yesterday: drawing "parallels between FIFA and organized crime while paying particular attention to FIFA president Sepp Blatter, CONCACAF general secretary Chuck Blazer and (Jack) Warner, who is also CONCACAF president."
Besides the preview which Jennings gave to Liburd - an ally and friend - another substantial look at Jennings' presentation came in the form of a presentation he gave two weeks ago in South Africa to the Institute for Security Studies as part of a forum and subsequent book publication entitled Player and Referee: Conflicting Interests and the 2010 World Cup
The section Jennings contributed is entitled HOW FIFA CORRUPTION EMPOWERS GLOBAL CAPITAL and I'll pass along a warning from a respected BigSoccer member who read it yesterday afternoon:
I made the mistake of reading that before dinner.
If you think you have a grasp on the depth of Jack Warner's venality and utter corruption, prepare to be astonished:
It knows no limits.
For those among us who have rightly pointed out that the main reason the USSF is afraid to comment on this disgusting mans' kleptomania is that they need his support in order to land the 2022 World Cup, I can only say this:
The Caribbean footballing world consists of Federation presidents like despicable thief Chet Greene, alleged human being Patrick John, the remarkably brazen Horace "Captain" Burrell and 30 or so other Brothers-in-Greed.
They give Jack Warner their unhesitating, unqualified support because they reap huge benefits from the things which are within his gift.
In what way is the USSF groveling before this man - to all of our shame, Sunil Gulati was described last Fall at a FIFA Assembly as part of Warners' "Trail of Toadies" - different from any CFU federation?
They want something from him. So do we.
Please tell me the difference.