Former FIFA president, Joseph Sepp Blatter and ex-UEFA president Michel Platini have both had charges of fraud levelled against them after six years of investigations into unlawful payments made during their time of service
Sepp Blatter, now 85 years and 66-year-old Platini now face a trial at federal criminal court in Bellinzona. They could serve many years behind bars if found guilty though that could take a while as court cases tend to be prolonged until a final verdict is reached.
“This payment damaged FIFA’s assets and unlawfully enriched Platini,” Swiss federal prosecutors said in a statement.
The case was opened in September 2015 which resulted in Blatter having to leave office even before the end of his tenure and also brought an abrupt end to Michel Platini’s infant dreams of one day steering FIFA
It case is based on a written request by Platini in January 2011 to be paid backdated additional salary for working as a presidential adviser in Blatter’s first term, from 1998-2002.
Blatter told FIFA to make the payment within weeks. He was preparing to campaign for re-election in a contest against Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar, where Platini’s influence with European voters was seen as a key factor.
“The evidence gathered by the (attorney general’s office) has corroborated that this payment to Platini was made without a legal basis,” prosecutors said.
Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have insisted on their innocence adding that no FIFA laws were broken and whatever transaction reached was based on a verbal agreement between the two men
Blatter has been charged with fraud, mismanagement, misappropriation of FIFA funds and forgery of a document. Platini has been charged with fraud, misappropriation, forgery and as an accomplice to Blatter’s alleged mismanagement.