Criminal Proceedings Against Sepp Blatter

Image: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1uW3lwNZas

Swiss investigators have begun criminal proceedings against Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini by searching the former FIFA president’s office while quizzing his UEFA counterpart, Platini.

At the heart of their search is an answer to the legality of a two million dollar payment from Blatter to the French football legend.

“Swiss criminal proceedings against the President of FIFA, Mr. Joseph Blatter, have been opened on September 24, 2015 on suspicion of criminal mismanagement … and – alternatively – misappropriation,” said a statement from the OGA, Switzerland’s Lawyer General’s Office.

Blatter (now 79) is in the process of handing over the reins of the world football governing body amid accusations of corruption.

The Swiss prosecutor said data had been seized and the FIFA President questioned. He is considered a ‘suspect’; while Platini is considered ‘a person called upon to give information’.

Platini, now 60, is the automatic FIFA vice-president as he has been head of UEFA since January 2007.

Blatter was said, by his lawyer Richard Cullen, to be cooperating with the Swiss authorities and that he was confident a review of the evidence would yield ‘no mismanagement occurred.’

The alleged $2.0 million franc ($2.9 million) is thought to have been made in February of 2011 ‘for work performed between January 1999 and June 2002’.

Michael Platini Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Platini

Michael Platini Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Platini

On Friday Platini said the money had been for ‘contractual’ work.

“Concerning the payment that was made to me, I wish to state that this amount relates to work which I carried out under a contract with FIFA,

“I was pleased to have been able to clarify all matters relating to this with the authorities. I also made clear to the Swiss authorities that since I live in Switzerland I am available to speak with them any time to clarify any matters relating to the investigations.”

Blatter is under investigation by US authorities for links with former FIFA vice-resident Jack warner.

It is being alleged that Warner used the Caribbean Football Union as a power base to which Blatter was suspected of contributing.

But Blatter’s lawyer, Cullen, said the contract was ‘properly prepared and negotiated’ by all FIFA staff required for such matters..

Warner is just one of 14 soccer officials and business executives expected to face US prosecutors. It will be alleged they were involved in more than US$150 million in bribes for broadcasting rights and marketing deals.

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