Former FIFA Officials Face Fraud Charges Over Secret Payment

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Sepp Blatter is accused of breaking Swiss instrumentality successful approving a $2 cardinal outgo from soccer’s governing assemblage to a one-time ally, Michel Platini.

Sepp Blatter, left, and Michel Platini aft  Blatter’s re-election arsenic  FIFA president   successful  2015. He resigned 4  days later.
Credit...Patrick B Kraemer/EPA, via Shutterstock

Tariq Panja

Nov. 2, 2021, 10:54 a.m. ET

More than six years aft their ouster amid a mushrooming shot corruption scandal, the erstwhile FIFA president Sepp Blatter and a one-time state were indicted connected fraud charges connected Tuesday by the authorities successful Switzerland, who accused the men of arranging a concealed $2 cardinal payment.

The bureau of Switzerland’s lawyer wide accused Blatter of unlawfully arranging the $2 cardinal outgo successful 2011 to Michel Platini, who was past the caput of European soccer’s governing body, UEFA. The transgression charges travel a yearslong probe into the payment, which came to airy successful the aftermath of a sprawling United States Department of Justice indictment that revealed corrupt practices astatine FIFA dating backmost astatine slightest 2 decades.

The probe resulted successful the apprehension and condemnation of dozens of almighty officials and selling executives connected charges that included racketeering, ligament fraud and wealth laundering conspiracy. Blatter was not charged astatine the time, adjacent arsenic the ungraded brought down astir of FIFA’s apical leadership.

The $2 cardinal outgo to Platini came arsenic Blatter faced a situation for the FIFA presidency from a Gulf billionaire. Blatter and Platini some support the wealth was related to enactment that Platini, the skipper of France’s 1984 European championship-winning team, did for Blatter aft helium was elected FIFA president for the archetypal clip successful 1998.

Both Blatter and Platini already person been sanctioned for the outgo by FIFA’s ain disciplinary system, though their archetypal bans were aboriginal reduced connected appeal.

Blatter and Platini were accused by the Swiss authorities connected Tuesday of transgression of fraud, transgression mismanagement and forgery. Prosecutors said their probe recovered the outgo to Platini was made “without a ineligible basis.”

“This outgo damaged FIFA’s assets and unlawfully enriched Platini,” the connection said.

The Swiss indictment against Blatter, 85, comes arsenic the erstwhile shot person battles sick health. He has been hospitalized respective times since being forced retired of his enactment post.

The Swiss lawyer general’s statement announcing the charges did not accidental erstwhile a proceedings would beryllium held. Blatter said helium was optimistic astir clearing his name, utilizing a connection to repetition his assertion that the outgo was based connected a verbal declaration with Platini and that it had been delayed due to the fact that of fiscal constraints astatine FIFA astatine the clip it was agreed.

“The cognition was close arsenic a late-wage payment,” Blatter said. A spokesperson for Platini did not instantly reply to a petition for comment.

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