Trinidad soccer federation to sue Warner for funds

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PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP)

Trinidad and Tobago's soccer federation said Friday that it plans to sue former FIFA vice president Jack Warner to recover millions of dollars in funds, including those slated for Haiti as a post-earthquake donation.

Federation lawyer Derek Ali told a judge that he planned to file a lawsuit and accused Warner of not releasing the audited accounts. High Court Judge Devindra Rampersad ordered Ali to send Warner a protocol letter advising him of the federation's intentions.

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation recently acknowledged it had ''surrendered its authority'' to Warner, who had served as the federation's special adviser and resigned last year to avoid a bribery probe by FIFA.

Warner spoke briefly to reporters after the federation made its announcement.

''That is their right to do so,'' he said. ''Let us see what happens.''

The federation has said that Warner controlled a bank account in its name that was set to receive $750,000 pledged by FIFA and South Korean soccer leader Chung Mong-joon for soccer rebuilding projects in Haiti.

Haitian officials recently told The Sunday Times in Britain that they received only $60,000, and FIFA announced it was temporarily freezing its funding to Trinidad and Tobago.

Trinidad's soccer federation also is seeking to recover millions of dollars in bonuses that 13 players from the island's 2006 World Cup team claim Warner promised them but never paid.

Last year, Judge Devindra Rampersad ordered Warner to make an interim payment to players of more than $700,000, but Warner has not done so.

Warner previously made a $1 million payment and said he has offered $2.3 million to the players, whom he accused of being greedy after they demanded $3.9 million.

Warner resigned last year after nearly 30 years as president of soccer's governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean. As a result, FIFA cannot discipline him but has said that it will withhold his pension payments.

Warner, a member of Trinidad's ruling party, still serves as the island's Minister of Works and is considered to be a powerful legislator.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said Friday that authorities are investigating several projects launched by Warner's ministry. She declined further comment.

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