Former world and European football chiefs Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini face a trial on Wednesday for alleged fraudulent payments that rocked the sport and swooped their time at the top.
Former FIFA presidents Blatter (86) and Platini (66) have been tried for two weeks in the Swiss Federal Criminal Court in the southern city of Bellinzona, following a huge investigation that began in 2015 and lasted for six years. let’s start doing ….
The pair was tested in 2011 with a payment of CHF 2 million ($ 2.08 million) to Platini, who was in charge of UEFA, the governing body of European football.
They have been accused of damaging FIFA, receiving payments illegally, and receiving a social security contribution of CHF 229,126 in favor of Platini.
According to the court, a former French great soccer player “2011 has a fictitious invoice for debt that still exists (alleged) for his work as an adviser to FIFA from 1998 to 2002. Submitted to FIFA in the year. “
Defendants have been accused of both fraudulent and forged documents. While Platini has been accused of participating in these crimes, Blatter has been accused of misappropriation and criminal mismanagement.
The indictment was filed by the Swiss Prosecutor’s Office (OAG).
The trial ends on June 22, and three judges will verdict on July 8.
Defendants may face up to five years in prison or fines.
Both FIFA and UEFA are headquartered in Switzerland, Zurich and Nyon.
Platini and the retired Swiss football manager Blatter were banned from sports at the very moment when Platini seemed to be in an ideal place to take over Blatter at the helm of the world’s football governing body.
The two allies became rivals because they couldn’t wait for Platini to take over. Meanwhile, Blatter’s tenure was quickly terminated by another 2015 FIFA corruption scandal investigated by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In Bellinzona’s trial, the defense and the prosecution have agreed on one point. Platini was hired as an advisor to Blatter between 1998 and 2002. He signed a contract in 1999 with an annual salary of CHF 300,000.
“The rewards agreed under this agreement were charged by Platini each time and paid in full by FIFA,” OAG said.
However, more than eight years after the end of his advisory role, the former French captain “requested a payment of CHF2 million,” OAG claimed.
“With the involvement of Blatter, FIFA paid Platini the same amount in early 2011. Evidence collected by OAG confirms that this payment to Platini was made without legal basis. This payment damaged FIFA’s assets and illegally strengthened Platini. “Federal prosecutors claim.
From the beginning, the man claims to have verbally agreed to an annual salary of CHF 1 million.
Platini says, “FIFA is an unpaid salary that is verbally contracted and paid under the most fully legal terms. Nothing else. I have the utmost integrity in all of my life and career. I acted with that. ” AFP.
As a civilian party, FIFA wants to be refunded the money paid in 2011 and “returned to football, which is the only intended purpose,” lawyer Catherine Hall Chiraji told AFP. rice field.
-Ballon d’Or winner-
Joseph “Zep” Blatter joined FIFA in 1975, became its general secretary in 1981, and became president of the Federation of World Football in 1998.
He was forced to resign in 2015 and was banned by FIFA for eight years and then reduced to six years due to an ethical breach by approving payments to Platini allegedly for his own benefit rather than FIFA. it was done.
Platini is considered one of the best players in football history in the world. He was awarded the Ballon d’Or, considered the most prestigious individual award, three times in 1983, 1984 and 1985.
Only Lionel Messi (7) and Cristiano Ronaldo (5) have won more Ballon d’Or than Platini.
Platini was President of the UEFA from January 2007 to December 2015.
Platini has appealed for the first eight years of suspension in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, thereby shortening it to four years.