Sepp Blatter & Michel Platini:- Prosecution

Background

God has been wanting me to write a couple of blog posts on FIFA’s World Cup 2022 in Dubai.

I wanted to be obedient, but I have a day job that takes a lot of hard work, focus, dedication, and dexterity.

Introduction

Hopefully the timing forced on me here is good.
We are starting the Final 16, Sweet Sixteen, stage of the event.

Stories

Outline

  1. Case Preparation
    • Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini face 20-month suspended jail sentences in FIFA fraud trial
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  2. Case Proceeding
    • Ex-FIFA president Blatter: Platini payment followed ‘gentleman’s agreement’
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  3. Case Decision
    • Blatter, Platini cleared of corruption at FIFA trial
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  4. Case Appeal
    • Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini case: Swiss prosecutors appeal acquittals of former FIFA, UEFA presidents
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Case Preparation

Reuters

Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini face 20-month suspended jail sentences in FIFA fraud trial

Link

Date Authored:- 2022-June-9th

Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini face 20-month suspended jail sentences in FIFA fraud trial

Prosecutors in the fraud trial of former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and vice president Michel Platini asked Wednesday for both men to get 20-month suspended prison sentences.

Blatter and Platini, a former France national team captain who was president of European governing body UEFA, faced sentences of up to five years for financial wrongdoing but actual jail time was considered to be unlikely ahead of their 11-day trial. Verdicts are expected on July 8.

The 86-year-old Blatter’s legal jeopardy increased Wednesday when prosecutors in FIFA’s home city Zurich confirmed to The Associated Press they had opened criminal proceedings against him in a separate complaint filed by soccer’s world body in 2020.

Blatter and his longtime right-hand man, former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, are now formal suspects in an investigation of alleged mismanagement relating to the FIFA World Football Museum project in central Zurich. The new details were first reported by a Swiss financial news website.

Earlier Wednesday at the Swiss federal criminal court in Bellinzona, prosecutor Thomas Hildbrand also asked the three judges for Platini to pay FIFA more than 2.2 million Swiss francs ($2.2 million) in compensation.

Blatter and Platini deny fraud and lesser charges relating to a FIFA-approved $2 million payment to the France great in 2011. At the time, Platini was UEFA president, a FIFA vice president and was expected to succeed Blatter, likely in 2015.

Platini said in a statement published after the court session that he was “serene and confident.”

“The indictment of the prosecutor today is devoid of any basis,” Platini said. “The debates of the trial proved that this criminal procedure had no reason to exist.”

The prosecution argued there was no legal or contractual basis for FIFA to pay Platini’s invoice for working as a presidential adviser in Blatter’s first term between 1998 and 2002. FIFA also paid $229,000 of social security taxes in Zurich.

Both have long denied wrongdoing and claim they had a verbal deal in 1998 for Platini to get extra salary that FIFA could not pay at the time. Platini signed a contract in August 1999 to be paid 300,000 Swiss francs ($300,000) annually.

Their defense previously failed at the FIFA ethics committee, which banned them from soccer and removed them from office, the FIFA appeals committee, and later in separate appeals at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Blatter has said FIFA accounted for the money properly, and Platini has claimed the allegation came to light in September 2015 to block him from campaigning to be FIFA president.

In June 2015, Blatter announced his plan to resign early as president in fallout from a sprawling American corruption investigation. A separate but cooperating case by Swiss prosecutors led to the Platini payment being investigated.

Blatter and Platini testified last week and both are expected to make closing statements at the end of the trial on June 22.

Two federal criminal proceedings and one at canton (state) level are now ongoing against Blatter and also Valcke.

FIFA asked Zurich prosecutors to look at the $140 million renovation of a downtown Zurich building for a museum long seen as a pet project of Blatter that opened in 2016. The loss-making museum is tied to a longterm FIFA rental of apartments and offices on the site owned by insurance firm Swiss Life.

Lawyers for Blatter said 18 months ago the museum allegations are “baseless and are vehemently denied.”

Federal prosecutors including Hildbrand are also investigating a FIFA loan of $1 million in 2010 to the Trinidad and Tobago soccer federation. The suspects are Blatter, Valcke and former FIFA finance director Markus Kattner, who testified in court Tuesday about the Platini payment.

The loan was later waived and effectively gifted soccer money to Jack Warner, then a FIFA vice president, weeks before he was a candidate in the Caribbean islands’ general election. Warner then became a government minister.

Valcke is also awaiting a federal appeals court verdict in Bellinzona after a retrial in March on charges linked to use of a Qatari-owned villa in Sardinia and World Cup broadcast rights. The three defendants include soccer and broadcast executive Nasser al-Khelaïfi, the president of French champion Paris Saint-Germain.

 

Case Proceeding

Reuters

Ex-FIFA president Blatter: Platini payment followed ‘gentleman’s agreement’

Link

Date Authored:- 2022-June-9th

Ex-FIFA President Sepp Blatter denied approving fraudulent payments to French football legend Michel Platini, telling a Swiss court on Thursday that a cash transfer followed a “gentleman’s agreement” between the pair.

Swiss prosecutors accuse the two men, once among football’s most powerful figures, of illegally arranging the 2 million Swiss franc ($2.04 million) payment in 2011. Blatter and Platini both deny the charges.

Blatter gave testimony to the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona after being excused on health grounds on Wednesday.

The 86-year-old said he had asked Platini to be his advisor after the Swiss official was elected FIFA president for the first time in 1998.

Platini asked to be paid 1 million francs per year but Blatter told the Frenchman that FIFA could not afford such a salary.

Instead they agreed Platini, one of the greatest players of his generation, would be paid 300,000 francs per year, with the outstanding cash to be paid at a later date.

“I knew when we started with Michel Platini that is not the total, and we would look at it later,” Blatter said referring to the agreed 300,000 francs salary for the job of technical consultant.

Sealed with a handshake, Blatter said the arrangement was a so-called “gentleman’s agreement.”

“It was an agreement between two sportsmen,” Blatter said. “I found nothing wrong with that.”

Platini signed a written contract with FIFA in 1999, but it specified only a salary of 300,000 francs, with no mention of the extra payments.

The former France national team captain said he trusted Blatter and believed he would be paid in full eventually.

“I trusted the president, and knew he would pay me one day.” Platini told the court.

FIFA’s fragile financial position in the early 2000s after the collapse of its broadcast partner meant the organisation could not pay immediately when Platini stopped his work as technical advisor in 2002. Blatter described the organisation as “broke.”

Platini, who led France to victory in the 1984 European Championship, did not pursue the outstanding debt until 2010, telling the court he did not need the money.

The 66-year-old decided to claim the money after hearing that two former FIFA employees had received substantial payments.

Platini said he contacted FIFA and was informed the organisation did owe him money and he should send an invoice. He sent FIFA a claim for 2 million francs in January 2011 and was paid 10 days later after the invoice was approved by Blatter, he said.

The Swiss Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has accused Blatter and Platini of “fraud, in the alternative of misappropriation, in the further alternative of criminal mismanagement as well as of forgery of a document.”

Platini, who later became UEFA president, was also charged as an accomplice.

A verdict is due on July 8. If convicted, Platini and Blatter face up to five years in jail.

Both officials were banned in 2016 from soccer for six years over the payment.

Platini said the affair was a deliberate attempt to thwart his attempt to become FIFA President in 2015.

“What FIFA did to me was scandalous. And the goal was that I didn’t become present of FIFA.”

 

Case Decision

Reuters

Blatter, Platini cleared of corruption at FIFA trial

Link

Date Authored:- 2022-July-8th

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and France football legend Michel Platini were both cleared of corruption charges by a Swiss court on Friday. Blatter, who led FIFA for 17 years, was cleared of fraud by the Federal Criminal Court in the southern city of Bellinzona. Platini, a former France national team captain and manager, was also acquitted of fraud.

Prosecutors accused Blatter and Platini of unlawfully arranging for FIFA to pay the Frenchman 2 million Swiss francs ($2.06 million) in 2011. Prosecutors had asked the court to impose suspended 20-month prison sentences on both men, and to compel them to repay Zurich-based FIFA 2.23 million Swiss francs.

The case meant Blatter ended his reign as FIFA president in disgrace, and it wrecked Platini’s hopes of succeeding him after he was banned from football when the affair came to light. Blatter, 86, had said the 2 million franc payment followed a “gentlemen’s agreement” between the pair when he asked Platini to be his technical adviser in 1998.

Platini, 67, worked as a consultant between 1998 and 2002 with an annual salary of 300,000 Swiss francs — the most FIFA could afford because of money troubles the organisation had at the time, Blatter told the court. The rest of Platini’s 1 million per year salary was to be settled at a later date, Blatter said.

“I want to express my happiness for all my loved ones that justice has finally been done after seven years of lies and manipulation,” Platini said in a statement.

“The truth has come to light during this trial,” he added. “I kept saying it: my fight is a fight against injustice. I won a first game.”

Motives for the alleged payment were unclear, although the two men met in 2010 and discussed the upcoming elections for the FIFA presidency in 2011. When Blatter approved the payment, he was campaigning for reelection against Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar. Platini, then president of European soccer association UEFA, was seen as having sway with European members who could influence the vote.

Prosecutors said the oral agreement between the two men for Platini to be paid 2 million francs later for his consultancy work never existed, and described it as an “invention”. The payment emerged following a huge investigation launched by the U.S. Department of Justice into bribery, fraud and money laundering at FIFA in 2015, which triggered Blatter’s resignation.

Both officials were banned in 2015 from soccer for eight years over the payment, although their bans were later reduced.

Platini, who also lost his job as UEFA president following the ban, said the affair was a deliberate attempt to thwart his attempt to become FIFA president in 2015.

 

Case Appeal

Reuters

Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini case: Swiss prosecutors appeal acquittals of former FIFA, UEFA presidents

Link

Date Authored:- 2022-October-19th

Swiss federal prosecutors have filed an appeal to overturn the acquittals of former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and France footballing great Michel Platini on corruption charges, they said on Thursday.

Switzerland’s Federal Criminal Court had cleared the two in July after a seven-year investigation in which both were booted out of the sport.

A judge said the pair’s account of a “gentlemen’s agreement” for FIFA to pay former UEFA president Platini 2 million Swiss francs ($1.99 million) for consulting work was credible, and serious doubts existed about the prosecution’s allegation that it was a fraudulent payment.

Prosecutors had said at the time they would examine the written verdict before deciding whether to appeal against the two, who were once among the most powerful figures in global football and had denied wrongdoing.

“We confirm that the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland has filed an appeal with the Appeals Chamber of the Federal Criminal Court within the statutory time limit … and has requested that the first-instance judgment be set aside in its entirety,” the OAG said, confirming a report in the Neue Zuercher Zeitung newspaper.

It declined further comment.

Beloved

Beloved, when called by God among men, you will face a lot of difficulties.

Trials among men.

When you do, please get even closer to God.

It is the only tried and credible choice that you should consider.

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