Trial in Switzerland: Platini accuses Infantino, Blatter is ill

BELLINZONA (Switzerland)The trial before the Swiss Federal Criminal Court for Joseph Blatter and Michel Platiniformer presidents of FIFA and Uefa, accused of fraud: the two executives will have to answer for the accusation of an illicit payment of 2 million francs, paid in 2011 by Fifa to Platini, compromising the heritage of the world federation and illegally enriching the former French champion Juventus. The public prosecutor of the Swiss Confederation accuses Blatter of the crime of fraud, possibly of embezzlement, and in the alternative of unfaithful administration and falsification of documents. Platini, on the other hand, is accused of fraud, possible involvement in embezzlement, and in the alternative of concurrence in unfaithful administration, in particular in the form of complicity, as well as forgery of documents.

Platini’s lawyers against Infantino

The trial, which began today, will end on 22 June, while the sentence is scheduled for 8 July. Blatter, 86, went to court accompanied by his daughter Corinne and trusted lawyer Lorenz Erni. During the hearing, before going into the merits of the accusations brought against the defendants, Platini’s legal team attempted to broaden the scope of the case to launch a separate investigation into the current FIFA president Gianni Infantino. It was therefore recalled that, in 2015 before the investigation into this alleged fraud began, Platini had expressed his intention to run for the presidency of FIFA, a role to which Infantino was then elected in 2016. According to the lawyer of the former Juventus champion, Dominic Nellen, “there is a direct link“amid suspicions of fraud against Platini and several secret meetings between Infantino and the former Swiss Attorney General. The prosecutor Thomas Hildbrand has however rejected any connection between the two dossiers, while Fifa lawyer Catherine Hohl-Chirazi branded Nellen’s claims as a “conspiracy theory“advanced”More and more times“to evade the substance of the accusations.

A sentence of up to 5 years in prison is possible

Defense and prosecution agree on one point: Platini was hired as a director and consultant to Blatter between 1998 and 2002, and a contract was signed in 1999 for an annual salary of 300,000 Swiss francs. The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG), which supports the prosecution, says this amount was invoiced by Platini and paid in full by FIFA. But, again according to the indictment, more than eight years later, Platini allegedly presented a fictitious invoice for money still owed for his period as a consultant, in the amount of two million francs. “With Blatter’s involvement, Fifa made a payment to Platini for the above amount in early 2011 “, the theory of the prosecutor, according to which “the evidence gathered confirmed that this payment to Platini was made without a legal basis. And this payment damaged Fifa’s assets and illegally enriched Platini“, is the theory of the federal prosecution. Then, again today, it was moved and postponed to tomorrow, for health reasons, Blatter’s first interrogation. In fact, the former FIFA president said that “I can hardly breathe, I don’t feel like answering questions“. If convicted, Blatter and Platini face a sentence of up to 5 years in prisonbut they could also get away with a hefty fine.

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