Blatter/Platini trial enters fifth day with former FIFA finance boss Kattner set to testify

June 14 – The fifth day of the trial of former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and former UEFA president Michel Platini continues with former FIFA finance director Markus Kattner expected to testify in the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona in Switzerland.

Federal prosecutor Oliver Thormann told the Bellinzona court that Kattner (pictured) was the source of the information that there was a CHF2 million payment from FIFA to Platini. This information triggered the criminal investigation.

Kattner will be asked to confirm that he supplied the information to the federal prosecutor which, if verified, will be a relief for FIFA whose president Gianni Infantino is accused of orchestrating a plot by Platini to discredit him and prevent him running for the FIFA presidency.

Part of the implied accusation is that Infantino supplied the payment information to the criminal authorities.

Already Flavio Battaini, a former personal advisor to Blatter, and Peter Limacher, the ex-UEFA legislative office chief, have both testified that there was a verbal agreement between Blatter and Platini – basically refuting claims that it was a secret agreement.

The payment was declared within FIFA’s accounts and taxes were paid.

Questions exist as to what Kattner’s motivation was to supply the information to the prosecutor, if he knew about the payment had not reported it before in his role as FIFA finance director.

Kattner had been sacked by FIFA in May 2016 (soon after Infantino’s election to the FIFA presidency) for “financial breaches”. Kattner, Blatter and former general secretary Jerome Valcke were fired for amending their employment contracts so they could award themselves “extraordinary bonuses” in relation to the 2010 World Cup, 2014 World Cup and 2013 Confederations Cup.

Kattner was banned from football for 10 years by FIFA in 2020 after being found guilty of conflicts of interest and abusing his position.

If Kattner’s testimony contradicts or puts doubt over the veracity of Thormann’s information on the source of the information provided to the Swiss prosecution service, the nature of the trial starts to look less like an accusation of a fraudulent payment, but an attempt to use the Swiss justice system for political gain – as per Platini’s claim.

That would not be good news for Infantino who himself is still under criminal investigation by two Swiss special prosecutors over undocumented meetings he held with the Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber.

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