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Football: the Swiss prosecutor’s office appeals the acquittal of Platini and Blatter



The Swiss public prosecutor is appealing the acquittal pronounced this summer by Michel Platini and the former president of Fifa, the Swiss Sepp Blatter, in a case of fraud, he indicated Thursday, October 20 in a communicated.

The public prosecutor sent a declaration of appeal to the Court of Appeal of the Federal Criminal Court (TPF) and “requested the total annulment of the judgment of first instance”, explains the press release confirming information from the daily L’Equipe.

Acquittal delivered in July

After six years of investigation and two weeks of trial for fraud in Switzerland, the French football icon, 67, and Sepp Blatter, 86, were acquitted on July 8. They faced five years in prison and the prosecution had requested a year and eight months in prison suspended.

Both were appearing for having organized “ illegally, to the detriment of Fifa, a payment of two million Swiss francs”, approximately 1.8 million euros, “in favor of Michel Platini”.

Defense and prosecution agreed on one point: the triple Ballon d’Or advised Sepp Blatter well between 1998 and 2002, during the latter’s first term at the head of Fifa, and the two men signed a contract in 1999 agreeing to an annual remuneration of 300,000 Swiss francs, entirely paid by Fifa. But, in January 2011, the former midfielder who has since become UEFA President asserted a claim of two million Swiss francs”qualified as “false invoice” by the prosecution.

A “gentlemen’s agreement”

The two men insisted on their side that they had from the start decided on an annual salary of one million Swiss francs, by a “gentlemen’s agreement” oral and without witnesses, without the finances of Fifa allowing immediate payment to Michel Platini.

French “Worth His Million”assured Sepp Blatter to the magistrates, before Michel Platini in turn described a negotiation so little formalized that he had not specified the motto: “Me for fun, I said: pesetas, liras, rubles, marks, it’s up to you”had told the legend of the Blues at the hearing.

The court finally found that the fraud was not “not established with a likelihood bordering on certainty”, believing that ” the doubt must benefit the defendants”.

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Football: Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter acquitted in Switzerland



Michel Platini and the former president of the International Football Federation (Fifa), the Swiss Sepp Blatter, were acquitted on Friday July 8 in Switzerland in the fraud case which in 2015 shattered the Frenchman’s ambitions to access at the helm of world football.

The Federal Criminal Court of Bellinzona did not follow the requisitions of the prosecution, which had requested in mid-June respectively one year and eight months of suspended prison sentence, while the two former leaders proclaimed their innocence. The court ultimately found that the scam was not “not established with a likelihood bordering on certainty”thus applying the general principle of criminal law that “doubt must benefit the accused”.

For two weeks, the 67-year-old Frenchman and the 86-year-old Swiss had appeared to have “illegally obtained, to the detriment of Fifa, a payment of 2 million Swiss francs (1.8 million euros) (…) in favor of Michel Platini”. “A neutral court has finally found that no crime was committed in this case. My client is completely cleared and relieved”commented M.e Dominic Nellen, Michel Platini’s lawyer.

For his part, the ex-captain of the Blues rejoiced in a short press release to have “won a first match”while once again alluding to a political and judicial manipulation intended to remove him from power: “In this case, there are culprits who did not appear during this trial. Let them count on me, we will meet again”.

Michel Platini suspects in particular a hidden role of Gianni Infantino, his former right-hand man at UEFA elected in 2016 at the head of Fifa, and targeted since 2020 by a separate procedure for three secret meetings with the former head of the Swiss prosecution. .

An oral agreement without witness

Defense and prosecution agreed on one point: the triple Ballon d’Or advised Sepp Blatter well between 1998 and 2002, during the latter’s first term at the head of Fifa, and the two men signed a contract in 1999 agreeing to an annual remuneration of 300,000 Swiss francs, entirely paid by Fifa.

But in January 2011, the former midfielder (who in the meantime became UEFA president between 2007 and 2015) “enforced a claim of 2 million Swiss francs”qualified as “false invoice” by the prosecution. The two men insist on their side that they had from the start decided on an annual salary of one million Swiss francs, by a “gentlemen’s agreement” orally and without witnesses, without the finances of Fifa allowing immediate payment to Michel Platini.

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Platini-Blatter trial: what are the charges against the defendants?



After six years of investigation, Michel Platini and the ex-president of Fifa Sepp Blatter appear from Wednesday June 8 before the federal criminal court of Bellinzona, in the south-east of Switzerland, in the case of payment suspect who broke their career in 2015. The verdict of the trial, which is held until June 22, is expected for July 8.

► What are the charges against the defendants?

The two former leaders of European and world football are accused of having “illegally obtained, to the detriment of Fifa, a payment of 2 million Swiss francs (1.8 million euros, editor’s note) in favor of Michel Platini”.

Michel Platini advised Sepp Blatter between 1998 and 2002 during the latter’s first term as head of FIFA. The two men signed a contract in 1999 agreeing to an annual remuneration of 300,000 Swiss francs, fully paid by Fifa.

However, in January 2011, almost ten years after the end of his activity as an adviser, Michel Platini “enforced a claim of 2 million Swiss francs” paid by FIFA “with the competition” of Sepp Blatter, reveals the prosecution. For the charge, it is a payment ” unfounded “obtained by inducing “artfully mistaken” the internal controls of Fifa by false assertions of the two leaders. These appear for ” scam “, “disloyal management”, ” breach of trust “ and “false in the titles”.

► What is their defense?

Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter declare that from the beginning they decided orally on an annual salary of 1 million Swiss francs. The balance was paid late because, at the time the agreement was established, Fifa’s finances did not allow an immediate payment. “This is a salary balance, owed by FIFA, by oral contract and paid under conditions of the most perfect legality. Nothing else ! I acted, like all my life and all my career, with the utmost honesty,” assures the Frenchman.

Even more, Michel Platini considers himself the victim of a conspiracy, noting that when the affair broke out, in 2015, he was a favorite to take the head of Fifa. He denounces in particular the role of Gianni Infantino, the current boss of world football, elected in 2016, who was his former right-hand man at UEFA and against whom he filed a complaint in November 2021 for “active influence peddling”.

Since 2020, Gianni Infantino has also been the target of a procedure relating to three secret meetings with the former chief prosecutor, in which a magistrate and the former legal director of Fifa have just been charged. But Swiss justice has so far refused to join the two files.

► What are they at risk?

Both men face up to five years in prison and a fine. Civil party, Fifa wishes to be restored the salary and social charges paid in 2011 to Michel Platini “so that the money embezzled by the defendants for personal purposes is returned to the one and only purpose for which it was intended: football”.

The affair has also made Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter pariahs of football. Suspended for the first time in October 2015 by FIFA’s Ethics Committee for a period of ninety days, they were then banned from all football-related activity for a period of eight years, reduced to six years by an appeals committee. In May 2016, the Court of Arbitration for Sport reduced Michel Platini’s suspension to four years.

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