Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter, and former UEFA President Michel Platini, have been indicted by Swiss prosecutors over charges of fraud and forgery. The charges stem from an alleged payment of two million Swiss francs made by Blatter to Platini.
In a press release, the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) stated, “The OAG accuses Joseph Blatter of fraud (Art. 146 para. 1 of the Swiss Criminal Code [SCC]), in the alternative of misappropriation (Art. 138 no. 1 para. 2 SCC), in the further alternative of criminal mismanagement (Art. 158 no. 1 paras. 1 + 3 SCC) as well as of forgery of a document (Art. 251 no. 1 paras. 1 + 2 SCC).”
“Michel Platini is accused of fraud (Art. 146 para. 1 SCC), in the alternative of participating in misappropriation (Art. 138 no. 1 para. 2 SCC), for in the further alternative of participating in criminal mismanagement (Art. 158 no. 1 paras. 1 + 3 SCC), as an accomplice (Art. 25 SCC), as well as of forgery of a document (Art. 251 no. 1 paras. 1 + 2 SCC).”
The payment was allegedly made as part of a back payment for work done by Platini as a consultant for Blatter from 1998 to 2002. However, it is alleged the payment was unnecessary as Platini had already been paid the agreed upon amount in his contract during the time he worked for Blatter.
According to the OAG, “this payment damaged FIFA’s assets and unlawfully enriched Platini.”
The investigation leading to the charges stems from prior investigations into FIFA activities beginning in 2015.
For its part, FIFA levied a ban of six years away from the sport on both men. However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) later reduced Platini’s ban down to four.
Regarding the charges, Reuters quoted Blatter as stating, “I look forward to the trial before 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.”
“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.”
Blatter and Platini could face up to five years in jail according to the Associated Press.