Platini Blatter Suiza

Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter are acquitted in their trial for fraud in Switzerland

Platini Blatter Switzerland
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After six years of research and two weeks of prosecution for fraud in Switzerland, Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter were acquitted this Friday in the case that put an end in 2015 to the ambitions of the former French soccer player to access the head of world soccer.

In silence, the two defendants listened to the reading of the verdict of a case in which they were exposed to five years in prison. The prosecution had requested in mid-June a year and eight months in prison suspended.

“A neutral court finally found that no crime was committed in this case. My client is fully acquitted and relieved by it,” said Dominic Nellen, a lawyer for Michel Platini.

For his part, the former captain of Les Bleus celebrated in a short statement having “won a first match.” With that, he again alluded to a political-judicial manipulation aimed at removing him from power. “In this case there are culprits who have not appeared in the process. Count me in, we’ll meet again,” she said.

Michel Platini suspects above all a hidden role of Gianni Infantinohis former right arm at UEFA, elected in 2016 to head FIFA, and since 2020 the subject of a different procedure for three secret meetings with the former head of the Swiss prosecutor’s office.

“Gentleman’s Agreement”

Having failed to link that case with the facts tried in Bellinzona, Platini, 67, Blatter, 86, appeared in Switzerland for “having illegally obtained, to the detriment of FIFA, a payment of 2 million Swiss francs» (1.8 million euros/2 million dollars) «in favor of Michel Platini».

Defense and prosecution coincided on one point: the triple Golden Ball advised Sepp Blatter between 1998 and 2002, during the latter’s first term as head of FIFA. Both men signed in 1999 a contract that stipulated a rannual remuneration 300,000 Swiss francs, fully paid by FIFA.

But in January 2011, the former Juventus midfielder asserted the existence of «a debt of 2 million Swiss francs“, described as a “false invoice” by the accusation.

Both men, for their part, insisted that they agreed from the beginning to an annual salary of one million Swiss francs through an oral and unwitnessed “gentleman’s agreement”, without FIFA’s finances allowing immediate payment to Platini.

Platini was “worth his million,” Sepp Blatter assured magistrates in Switzerland, before Michel Platini recounted a informal negotiation The currency was not specified. “I, jokingly, said “pesetas, liras, rubles, marks, you decide,” said the Frenchman.

Sufficient “doubt” for acquittal

The prosecutor Thomas Hildbrand underlined the contradiction between the 1999 contract, the contrast with the usual practices of the instance, and more generally those of the world of work. He also reviewed the FIFA audit reports.

Although the Zurich-based organization paid one million Swiss francs to Platini since 1999, it would still have “more than 21 million francs in cash«, reserves that rose to 327 million in 2002, recalled the prosecutor.

But the court found that the fraud “was not established with a likelihood to rely on certainty”, thus applying the principle of law according to which “in case of doubt in favor of the accused”.

The defense also argued the absence of a clear motive for Sepp Blatter, to whom this matter did not bring him a penny.

Thomas Hildbrand wisely recalled the support by Michel Platini and the UEFA executive committee for Blatter’s re-election to a fourth term in late May 2011.

“The question of whether that payment is related to the election must remain openin the absence of convincing evidence,” said the prosecutor, allowing the shadow of corruption to hover.

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