FIFA: Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter appear in Switzerland for fraud

FIFA: Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter appear in Switzerland for fraud

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From Wednesday to June 22, Michel Platini and former FIFA president Sepp Blatter appear in Switzerland for “fraud”. At the heart of the case: a suspicious payment that has placed them since 2015 in the world football ban.

After six years of an investigation riddled with suspicions of conspiracy, the trial of Michel Platini and former FIFA president Sepp Blatter opened in Switzerland on Wednesday, June 8, over the suspicious payment case that wrecked their careers in 2015.

In silence, the 66-year-old Frenchman and the 86-year-old Swiss attended the procedural battle that opened the hearing before the Federal Criminal Court of Bellinzona (southeast), for “fraud”, “unfair management”, “breach of trust” and ” fake headlines.

“I am very confident,” Sepp Blatter assured a few journalists, before rushing into the Ticino jurisdiction until June 22, for a decision scheduled for July 8.

He only spoke again at the end of the hearing to denounce his tiredness, while his precarious health, after a heart operation and then a long hospitalization in early 2021, meant that the trial was held only in the morning.

Without explaining for the moment on the merits of the case, the defendants saw in Platini’s defense an attempt to broaden the framework, to include a separate procedure directed from 2020 to the current FIFA president, Gianni Infantino.

Should we only discuss the 2 million Swiss francs (1.8 million euros) bill presented by the French in 2011 and validated by Blatter, as the prosecution argues? Or a conspiracy to remove the triple Ballon d’Or from the race for the FIFA presidency, which seemed promised to him when the matter broke out in 2015, instrumentalizing justice?

“Conspiracy Theory”

“There is a direct link” between suspicions of fraud against Platini, then UEFA president, and several secret meetings between Infantino and the former Swiss prosecutor, Dominic Nellen, one of his lawyers.

But prosecutor Thomas Hildbrand ruled out any link between the two files, before FIFA lawyer Catherine Hohl-Chirazi does not denounce a “conspiracy theory” proposed “again and again” to evade the merits of the accusations.

And the three magistrates followed this logic, refusing to join the causes and refocusing the debates, which will resume tomorrow, Thursday, on the payment granted to Michel Platini with the endorsement of Sepp Blatter.

The Frenchman, who is expected to speak in court on Thursday, “is positive and impatient” to see the witness hearings open, Nellen.

The defense and the prosecution agree on one point: Platini advised Sepp Blatter well between 1998 and 2002, during the latter’s first term as head of FIFA, and the two men signed a contract in 1999 agreeing to an annual remuneration of 300,000 francs. swiss, fully paid by fifa

But in January 2011, “more than eight years after the end of his activity as an advisor”, the former Blues captain “claimed a claim of 2 million Swiss francs”, paid by the football body “with the competition” by Sepp Blatter, points out the prosecution.

Oral agreement?

For the prosecution, it is an unjustified payment, obtained by “handcraftedly” deceiving the internal controls of Fifa by false statements by the two leaders, a key criterion of the fraud.

The two men for their part insist that from the beginning they had decided on an annual salary of one million Swiss francs, orally and without witnesses, without FIFA’s finances allowing immediate payment to Michel Platinum.

However, they will have to explain the contradiction with the 1999 contract, the fact that this debt has never been provisioned by Fifa, and the contrast with the usual practices of the organization, which has never paid an employee or consultant “without base written”. ”, assured his former HRD in the disciplinary part of the procedure.

As a civil party, Fifa intends to be reimbursed for the salary and social charges paid in 2011, “so that the money embezzled by the defendants for personal purposes is returned to the only destination for which it was intended: soccer,” he said. before the hearing nme Hohl-Chirazi, trial attorney.

with AFP

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