Former FIFA president Joseph Blatter and former UEFA president of the French game Michel Platini are under investigation in Switzerland for “fraud” and “dishonesty,” a source familiar with the investigation told AFP on Friday.
The two parties were accused in a judicial proceeding in 2015 over a payment made by Blatter to Platini in 2011 in the amount of two million Swiss francs (2.2 million dollars) in exchange for a consultative work performed by Platini for the first in 2002.
The Public Prosecution decided to change the focus of its investigation and expand it, according to the same source, confirming what was published by the French newspaper “Le Monde” and the French website “MediaPar”.
The Public Prosecution Office is investigating on suspicion of “complicity in bad management, embezzlement and forgery.”
The Swiss Ministry of Justice has the power to use additional legal evidence to demand payment.
People close to Platini, 65, said Friday that the Swiss public prosecutor “is keeping these allegations, which date back to five years, artificially, to expand the scope of the charges.”
According to the two men, the agreement dates back to the spring of 1998.
Blatter, who entered FIFA in 1975 as Director of Development, sought the support of Platini, a three-time Ballon d’Or winner while he was with Juventus, to take over as president to succeed Joao Havelange.
However, FIFA, which has been chaired by the Swiss since 2016, Jani Infantino, former Secretary General of the European Union when Platini was its president, confirms that there is no written contract mentioning this reward at that time, and Platini demands that it be returned since 2019 before the Swiss civil court.
The issue is further complicated by the existence of a written “agreement” signed in 1999 after Blatter became president of FIFA, stipulating a salary of 300,000 Swiss francs for Platini, far from the one million francs he claims annually.
Blatter (84 years) and Platini justified this gap with the “liquidity problems” that FIFA suffered from at the time. They agreed that the additional salary would be paid later, simply ignoring it in writing, according to what the Court of Arbitration for Sport said in a 2016 decision.
FIFA had considered the batch authorized by Blatter to be “unfaithful” and suspended Blatter and Platini from all football activities, which prevented the latter from running again for the presidency of the European Union (UEFA) in 2016.
Platini’s sentence imposed on him by FIFA expired last year.
In a statement to France Press on Friday, Blatter said, “I have not made any mistake in making late payments based on a common agreement.”
Blatter was removed from his post in 2015, after 17 years as FIFA president.
FIFA has witnessed resounding corruption scandals that toppled large heads, especially in the American continent, where many officials were arrested and imprisoned accused of large-scale corruption cases worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Former FIFA Secretary General Jerome Falk was sentenced to 120 days in prison and a fine of 1.65 million euros (1.92 million dollars) last October by a Swiss court over corruption cases over his granting of television broadcasting rights to the World Cup.
The first court ruling was in Switzerland, home to most international sports federations, out of about 20 procedures opened since 2015 in cases related to FIFA. Two South American officials were imprisoned in the United States for their role in related corruption cases.
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