By Andrew Warshaw
November 30 – With the five-year case against them by Swiss prosecutors seemingly going nowhere, Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini are under investigation for yet more alleged misdemeanours, this time for “fraud” and “breach of trust”.
The two former heads of FIFA and UEFA respectively were originally probed by the Swiss over the infamous CHF2 million “disloyalty payment” that wrecked the careers of them both.
But five years after a judicial case was opened and nine after the alleged offence took place, prosecutors have decided to change the focus of their investigation, agencies quoted sources close to the case as saying.
Prosecutors are now investigating “complicity in unfair management, embezzlement and forgery” but Platini, whose bid to succeed Blatter was thwarted when he was kicked out, allowing Gianni Infantino to snatch his opportunity to seize power at FIFA, told AFP via his team that the latest move was a case of maintaining the case “artificially by widening the accusations”.
In June, Platini had said the Swiss Attorney General’s office had “confirmed in writing in May 2018” that his case was closed.
In a statement to AFP, Blatter, meanwhile, reiterated: “I have done nothing wrong in making back payments based on a joint agreement.”
The latest move follows Blatter and Platini both being questioned in recent weeks.
“(This month), the federal prosecutors’ office informed the parties that, based on the current investigation it is reassessing part of the proceedings,” the Swiss attorney general’s office said on Friday, citing the payment to Platini which led to lengthy bans for both himself and Blatter.
“Since then both Joseph Blatter and Michel Platini are being investigated on suspicion of fraud,” the federal office said in a statement to The Associated Press.
Blatter’s six-year ban runs until next October. He is also a suspect in a separate investigation into an interest-free $1 million loan FIFA gave in 2010 to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) controlled by disgraced former FIFA vice president Jack Warner, the most wanted man in the FIFAgate scandal who is serving a lifetime ban from football on corruption charges and remains in his homeland battling extradition.
Platini’s four-year ban has expired but the long Swiss investigation was revived when a different prosecutor, Thomas Hildbrand, recently took charge.
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org