ZURICH, Switzerland (CelebrityAccess) — Former FIFA President Joseph “Sepp” Blatter and former President of UEFA, Michel Platini are facing charges of fraud in Switzerland over allegedly criminal mismanagement and misappropriation of FIFA funds.
The two were charged following a six-year investigation into a payment of two million Swiss francs (£1.6m) from FIFA to Platini.
According to Swiss Federal Prosecutors, Platini worked as a consultant for the then FIFA President Joseph Blatter for an annual compensation of CHF 300,000 between 1998 and 2002. However, in 2011, prosecutors allege Platini demanded a payment in the amount of CHF 2 million, which, at Blatter’s urging, FIFA paid in 2011.
In addition to being charged with fraud, Blatter has been charged with mismanagement, misappropriation of FIFA funds and forgery of a document, the Office of Switzerland’s OAG said.
Platini has been charged with fraud, misappropriation, forgery and as an accomplice to Blatter’s alleged mismanagement.
“The evidence gathered by the OAG has corroborated that this payment to Platini was made without a legal basis. This payment damaged FIFA’s assets and unlawfully enriched Platini,” Swiss prosecutors alleged.
Blatter served as the eighth president of FIFA from 1998 to 2015 when he was forced to step down amid accusations of financial mismanagement that sparked a revolt from FIFA’s sponsors. Swiss prosecutors opened criminal proceedings against him following his resignation.
In a statement to the BBC, Blatter said he “looked forward to the trial” and hoped that his “story would come out in the end. He also told the BBC that the payment to Platini was based on a verbal agreement and backdated due to delays in FIFA paying the full amount.
Mr. Platini, speaking through an attorney, denied the charges against him categorically.
“There are enough witness reports and documents in the case files that prove my client’s innocence,” Platini’s lawyer Dominic Nellen told the BBC. “I am 100% confident that we will be able to prove my client’s innocence in court.”