Zurich: Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and former UEFA president Michel Platini have been charged with illegally arranging a payment of 2 million Swiss francs ($ 2.9 million), according to the Swiss public prosecutor.
Swiss prosecutors have investigated Blatter, 85, on charges that he arranged the payment from world football’s governing body FIFA to Platini in February 2011.
The Swiss investigation was launched in 2015 in the middle of a series of scandals that engulfed FIFA. The affair led to a FIFA ethical inquiry in which both men were excluded from the game and forced to leave their positions.
The Swiss Public Prosecutor’s Office (AOG) on Tuesday accused Blatter and Platini of “fraud, rather than misappropriation, in a further alternative to criminal misconduct as well as to forgery of a document”. Platini, who captained France to victory in the European Championships in 1984, was also charged as an accomplice.
Blatter and Platini were both ruled out of football for six years in 2016 because of the payment made with Blatter’s approval for work done a decade earlier. Both had denied having made mistakes.
“I look forward to the trial of the federal criminal court with optimism, and I hope that this story will come to an end and that all the facts will be dealt with properly,” Blatter said in a statement Tuesday.
“Regarding the payment of the sum of two million francs from Fifa to Michel Platini, I can only repeat myself: it was based on an oral contract that regulated Platini’s advisory activities for FIFA between 1998 and 2002,” he added.
Blatter said the payment had been delayed because FIFA was unable to pay the full amount and that Platini did not make its claim for the money until 2010.
The former FIFA president said the payments had been approved by “all responsible FIFA bodies” and that Platini had paid tax on the amount “at his Swiss residence”.