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Trinidad extradition hearing for Warner in FIFA case put off

FILE - In this June 3, 2015 file photo, former FIFA vice president Jack Warner speaks at a political rally in Marabella, Trinidad and Tobago. A Trinidad judge has adjourned an extradition hearing for Warner until later this month. Warner's defense lawyer said Thursday, July 9, 2015, the hearing was adjourned because U.S. authorities have yet to send charges to Trinidad. A new hearing date of July 27 has been set. (AP Photo/Anthony Harris, File)n

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) — Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner won more time Thursday in his fight to avoid being extradited from Trinidad and Tobago to the United States to face corruption charges.

Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Ceasar set a new hearing date of July 27. Defense lawyer Nyree Alfonso said Thursday’s hearing was adjourned until then because U.S. authorities had yet to send charges and a formal extradition request to Trinidad.

If the U.S. request is not filed in Trinidad in just over two weeks, Alfonso said, the defense team “can apply to the court to have the matter dismissed” under rules of the extradition treaty between the two countries.

Warner, who is busy campaigning for Sept. 7 national elections as leader of his opposition party, is currently out on bail and required to report twice weekly to a police station near his home. His passport has been seized.

A grinning Warner emerged from the Port-of-Spain courthouse surrounded by supporters. He declined to answer questions before being whisked away in a car.

Warner is resisting extradition and has predicted a lengthy legal battle over the attempt to extradite him to the U.S. to face charges of racketeering, wire fraud and money-laundering in the FIFA corruption case.

Trinidad legal experts, including former attorney general Ramesh Maharaj, believe Warner’s extradition request could take three to five years to resolve in the twin-island Caribbean republic off the coast of Venezuela.

U.S. prosecutors allege South Africa funneled $10 million in 2008 to Warner and two other FIFA executive committee members as payment for them supporting that country’s successful bid to host the 2010 World Cup.

Officials also allege Warner and others, including former FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer of the United States, got rich off accounts they controlled through CONCACAF, which oversees soccer in the Caribbean and North and Central America. Blazer has cooperated with authorities.

Warner left FIFA in 2011 after being implicated in an earlier bribery scandal. He has denied wrongdoing.

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