Friday, July 12

Blatter, Platini to face Swiss justice in June fraud trial


Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter and ex-UEFA President Michel Platini will go on trial in June to face Swiss corruption charges over a $2 million payment that world football governing body made to Platini in 2011, Reuters reported referring to an announcement made by the court on Tuesday.

According to the news agency, both Blatter and Platini have repeatedly denied wrongdoing in the past over the incident, for which Swiss prosecutors indicted them in November.

Prosecutors allege Blatter improperly arranged the payment to Platini, who captained France to victory in the 1984 European Championship, for consulting work. Blatter and Platini said the payment was for backdated salary.

Both are suspected of fraud and other charges amid what became part of the biggest corruption scandal to shake FIFA.

Blatter, who led FIFA for 17 years, resigned in 2015, followed by Platini as president of UEFA in 2016, shortly after stepping down from running for the FIFA presidency. Both were handed six-year bans for ethics violations.

The trial before the Swiss Federal Criminal Court is due to start on June 8 and will last until June 22, the court said on its website.

At the time of his indictment, Blatter said: “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.”

Platini’s Swiss lawyer, Dominic Nellen, said he was looking forward to the trial.

“We are confident that the outcome of the trial will establish the perfect good faith of Mr Michel Platini in this affair, which has been fabricated to remove him from the presidency of FIFA,” he wrote in response to a request for comment.

The court said Blatter and Platini are accused of having unlawfully obtained, to the detriment of FIFA, the payment of 2 million Swiss francs ($2.15 million) and social security contributions worth around 229,000 francs for Platini, Reuters further reported.

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