Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini in court as corruption trial starts in Switzerland

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 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and ex-UEFA president Michel Platini arrived in court in Switzerland this morning to face corruption charges.

Swiss prosecutors claim that a £1.6million payment made by Blatter to Platini in 2011 was unlawful.

Both men, who were banned from football in 2015, deny wrongdoing and say the transfer was belated payment for Platini’s advisory work for FIFA.

The case is one of 25 investigations by the Swiss Office of the Attorney General (OAG) into corruption in football, with 12 still pending resolution.

After a six-year investigation, the OAG have accused Blatter of “fraud, in the alternative of misappropriation, in the further alternative of criminal mismanagement as well as of forgery of a document”.

Platini is accused of fraud, misappropriation, participating in criminal mismanagement as an accomplice and forgery of a document.

Swiss prosecutors claim that, “with Blatter’s involvement, FIFA made a payment to Platini at the beginning of 2011. The evidence gathered by the OAG has corroborated that the payment was made without a legal basis. This payment damaged FIFA’s assets and unlawfully enriched Platini.” Both men claim the payment was legitimate, and that a verbal agreement was made at the outset over the amount Platini would be paid and that the 2011 payment was simply back pay.

Blatter has said: “[It] was correctly declared as a salary payment, accounted for accordingly and approved by all the relevant bodies of FIFA.”

The case ended Blatter’s 17-year reign as FIFA president, while Platini, who captained France to victory in the 1984 European Championship, was forced to quit UEFA in 2016.

If found guilty, Blatter and Platini face up to five years in jail.

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