Former FIFA chiefs Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have been charged with fraud by Swiss prosecutors after a six-year investigation into a suspicious payment of 2m Swiss francs (around £1.35m).
The case against the two stems from Platini’s request in 2011 for backdated salary relating to his time as Blatter’s adviser between 1998 and 2002, with Blatter ordering FIFA to make the 2m payment soon after.
A statement from the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland alleged that Blatter and Platini had agreed on an annual salary of 300,000 francs for the work, all of which was paid in full by FIFA, claiming there was no reason for this 2m payment over eight years after the work ended.
Blatter has been charged with fraud, mismanagement, misappropriation of FIFA funds and forgery of a document.
As for Platini, he has been charged with fraud, misappropriation, forgery and as an accomplice to Blatter’s alleged mismanagement. The Frenchman was not originally investigated but found himself involved last year, after which the fraud allegations were made.
The police investigation began back in 2015 with a police raid on FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich, on the same day as Blatter and Platini attended a meeting of FIFA’s executive committee.
It was Blatter who was the focus of the investigation initially, but evidence of Platini’s involvement was found eventually and this case of fraud was built.
The claim is that Blatter, in his preparation for a campaign for re-election against Qatar’s Mohamed bin Hammam, used FIFA funds to pay Platini for his support and his ability to sway European voters. Both have denied any wrongdoing for years.
Blatter and Platini have both argued that they made a verbal agreement over 20 years ago for the 2m to be paid, but no evidence of this has ever been found.