– “Absence of motive”: Platini’s lawyer requests acquittal
Dominic Nellen argued on Monday that there is no evidence of fraud or forgery in the titles in connection with the suspicious payment of 2 million francs.
“The sole purpose of this trial was to prevent my client from becoming FIFA president,” the lawyer for former UEFA president Michel Platini told the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona on Monday. He asked for his acquittal.
There is no ground for an alleged crime of fraud, but there is one for the present criminal proceedings, defense lawyer Dominic Nellen said at the start of his closing argument. He tried to demonstrate that the initial suspicion which triggered the procedure had already been fabricated.
It is in his eyes strange that the Public Ministry of the Confederation (MPC), by examining the immense quantity of documents at its disposal, is precisely interested in the payment of 2 million.
And it is striking to note that the procedure was opened shortly after one of the meetings not recorded in the minutes between the MPC and a close friend of Gianni Infantino – at first only against the co-defendant of Michel Platini, the former FIFA President Joseph Blatter.
Publicly quoted name
Although Michel Platini was not initially charged, the MPC mentioned his name repeatedly, said Me Nellen. The public prosecutor has thus created a new status of “person who can provide information publicly charged” in criminal proceedings.
Regarding the legal basis for the payment of 2 million, Dominic Nellen’s explanations largely overlap with those of Sepp Blatter’s lawyer. Blatter and Platini would have agreed in 1998 for the former world footballer to become adviser to the first.
Michel Platini demanded a million francs a year. In the written contract drawn up only at the end of August 1999, a remuneration of 300,000 francs per year was fixed. Reason: the precarious financial situation of FIFA at the time.
The written contract, however, would not have changed the fact that Platini was to receive his fee of one million francs – only later. In 2010, the Frenchman reminded former FIFA chief financial officer Markus Kattner of his unpaid salary for his work as an adviser from 1998 to 2002.
The trigger for this move was the high severance payments paid at the time to two FIFA members who had been made redundant, said Mr Nellen. Michel Platini presented an invoice to FIFA, and it followed the usual process within the organization after the signing of Sepp Blatter. Several people were involved in this process.
There are no clues of scam or forgery in the titles, argued the lawyer. According to his pleading, the French waives moral reparation. “His moral reparation will be acquittal”.
Sepp Blatter’s lawyer also called for his client’s acquittal at the end of last week. Lorenz Erni also justified the legitimacy of the payment by the oral contract which would have been made between his client and Platini.
The MPC accuses the two men of fraud and forgery in the titles, considering that the payment of 2 million had no legal basis and that FIFA therefore suffered damage.
The MPC is asking for suspended prison sentences of one year and eight months each. Michel Platini should also pay a compensatory claim of approximately 2.2 million francs for the amount received and the social benefits paid on this sum.
Judgment is scheduled for July 8.
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