Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini charged with fraud in Switzerland

The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) accuses both men of illegally arranging a payment of 2 million Swiss francs (current value US $ 2.19 million) from FIFA to Platini.

The public prosecutor described the alleged offenses in an online statement, saying that “between 1998 and 2002, Michel Platini worked as a consultant for then-FIFA President Joseph Blatter.

“In 1999 an annual compensation of CHF 300,000 [current value US $328,000] was agreed in a written contract for this advisory activity. This written contract was signed by both Blatter and Platini. The compensation agreed in accordance with this contract was invoiced by Platini on each occasion and paid in full by FIFA. “

But in 2011, more than eight years after his advisory contract ended, “Platini demanded a payment of CHF 2 million. With Blatter’s involvement, FIFA made a payment to Platini in the amount mentioned in early 2011.

“The evidence gathered by OAG has confirmed that this payment to Platini was made without any legal basis. This payment damaged FIFA’s assets and enriched Platini illegally,” the statement said.

Blatter: ‘I hope this story comes to an end’

Blatter, 85, has been charged by the OAG with fraud, mismanagement, misappropriation and forgery of a document. Platini, 66, is charged with fraud, participation in misappropriation, participation in mismanagement, as an accomplice and forgery of a document.

In a statement to CNN on Tuesday, Blatter said: “I look forward to the trial of the federal criminal court with optimism and I hope that this story will come to an end and that all the facts will be dealt with properly.”

“Regarding the payment of the sum of two million francs from FIFA to Michel Platini, I can only repeat myself: it was based on an oral contract that regulated Platini’s advisory activities for FIFA between 1998 and 2002,” he added.

Blatter said the payment to Platini was “approved by all responsible FIFA bodies” and that Platini “paid tax on the amount at his Swiss residence.”

Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter arrives at a press conference in response to his eight-year ban by FIFA's ethics committee at FIFA's former headquarters in Zurich on December 21, 2015.

Platini said in a statement to CNN that the decision of the Swiss Public Prosecutor’s Office (MPC) to charge him was “an extension of the MPC’s ruthlessness to want to implicate me unnecessarily in a case where all my good faith had been recognized.”

“I fully challenge these unfounded and unjust accusations,” he added.

FIFA: ‘There are no written records of such an agreement’

“This decision concerns an amount of CHF two million which Mr Blatter approved to be paid to Mr Platini in February 2011,” a FIFA spokesman said in a statement to CNN.

“The payment was made shortly before FIFA’s presidential election in 2011, when Mr Blatter was elected for a fourth consecutive term as FIFA president. The sum of two million CHF was allegedly to be paid for work done by Mr Platini more than 10 years before. are no written records of such an agreement, “they added.

“As previously announced, FIFA has already taken steps in the Swiss courts to recover this amount from both persons, as it considers the money to have been paid illegally by one to the other. If and when the funds are recovered, they will be channeled back in football development as they should have been in the first place.

Former UEFA President Michel Platini looks at Sepp Blatter's re-election in 2015 as FIFA President during the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich, Switzerland.

“The decision of the Public Prosecutor’s Office comes after an investigation of the case conducted by the Swiss authorities, which to date has lasted about 6 years. Both Mr Blatter and Mr Platini were excluded from football in 2015 in connection with this payment and this ban was confirmed both in the Sports Arbitration Court and by the Swiss Federal Court.

“In 2020, the European Court of Human Rights unanimously declared Mr Platini’s application inadmissible. FIFA will closely follow the next steps taken in this case.”

UEFA rejected CNN’s request for comment.

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