Platini and Blatter tried for fraud in Switzerland

After six years of an investigation crossed by suspicions of conspiracy, Michel Platini and the ex-president of Fifa Sepp Blatter appear since Wednesday in Switzerland, in the case of suspicious payment which broke their career in 2015.

Without a word, the 66-year-old Frenchman and the 86-year-old Swiss attended the procedural battle which launched their trial before the Federal Criminal Court of Bellinzona (south-east), for “fraud”, “unfair management”, “breach of trust” and “false titles”.

“I am very confident”, only assured a few journalists Sepp Blatter, “with a clear conscience”, before rushing into the Ticino courtroom until June 22, for a decision expected on July 8.

Without explaining themselves for the time being on the merits of the case, the defendants saw Platini’s defense attempt to broaden the framework, to include a separate procedure targeting since 2020 the current president of Fifa Gianni Infantino.

Should we debate only the invoice of 2 million Swiss francs (1.8 million euros) presented by the French in 2011 and validated by Blatter, as argued by the prosecution? Or a conspiracy to remove the triple Ballon d’Or from the race for the presidency of Fifa by instrumentalizing justice?

” Conspiracy theory “

“There is a direct link” between the suspicions of fraud against Platini, president of UEFA at the time, and several secret meetings between Infantino and the former head of the Swiss prosecution, assured Me Dominic Nellen, the one of his lawyers.

→ Read also: Candidacy for the presidency of the FRMF: receipt of a single list chaired by Fouzi Lekjaa

But prosecutor Thomas Hildbrand swept away any relationship between the two files, before Fifa lawyer Catherine Hohl-Chirazi denounced a “conspiracy theory” put forward “again and again” to evade the substance of the charges.

If the court follows this logic, the debates should quickly refocus on the payment granted to Michel Platini with the endorsement of Sepp Blatter, “unfounded” for the prosecution.

Defense and prosecution agree on one point: the Frenchman 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 a annual remuneration of 300,000 Swiss francs, fully paid by Fifa.

But in January 2011, “more than eight years after the end of his activity as an adviser”, the ex-captain of the Blues “claimed a debt of 2 million Swiss francs”, paid by the football authority “with the competition ”by Sepp Blatter, notes the prosecution.

Oral agreement?

For the prosecution, it is an unjustified payment, obtained by misleading “artfully” the internal controls of Fifa by false assertions of the two leaders, the key criterion of the scam.

The two men insist on their side that they had from the outset decided on an annual salary of one million Swiss francs, orally and without witnesses, without the finances of Fifa allowing the immediate payment to Mr. Platini.

They will nevertheless 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 body, which has never remunerated an employee or consultant. “Without a written basis”, 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 one and only purpose for which it was intended: football”, indicated before the hearing Me Hohl-Chirazi, litigation lawyer.


Leave a Comment