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The Swiss Sepp Blatter, former president of Fifa, and the French Michel Platini, ex-president of UEFA, were acquitted on Friday in the fraud case within the body of world football.
The former French president of UEFA Michel Platini and the former Swiss president of Fifa Sepp Blatter were acquitted on Friday July 8 in Switzerland in the fraud case which in 2015 shattered the Frenchman’s ambitions to access at the helm of world football.
The Federal Criminal Court of Bellinzona did not follow the requisitions of the prosecution, which had requested in mid-June respectively one year and eight months of suspended prison sentence, while the two accused claimed their innocence.
Gianni Infantino subject to separate proceedings
For two weeks, the 67-year-old Frenchman and the 86-year-old Swiss had compared for having “illegally obtained, at the expense of Fifa, a payment of 2 million Swiss francs” (1.8 million euros) “in favor by Michael Platini”.
Implicated in other criminal cases but tried for the first time, Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter have each pleaded for acquittal, they who claim their innocence and see in this file a manipulation intended to remove them from power.
For years, the defense has striven to bring back into the debates a possible behind-the-scenes role of Gianni Infantino, former right-hand man of Michel Platini at UEFA, then unexpectedly elected at the beginning of 2016 to the presidency of Fifa – who nevertheless seemed promise to its former leader.
But if Gianni Infantino has been targeted since 2020 by a separate procedure for three secret meetings in 2016 and 2017 with the former head of the Swiss prosecution, the magistrates have never joined the two files, making any suspicion of conspiracy judicially irrelevant.
Defense and prosecution agreed on one point: Michel Platini advised Sepp Blatter well between 1998 and 2002, during the latter’s first term as head of FIFA, and the two men signed a contract in 1999 agreeing to a annual remuneration of 300,000 Swiss francs, fully paid by Fifa.
But in January 2011, the former midfielder – who in the meantime became UEFA President (2007-2015) – “claimed a claim of 2 million Swiss francs”, qualified as a “false invoice” by the ‘charge.
The two men insist on their side that they had from the start decided on an annual salary of one million Swiss francs, by an oral “gentlemen’s agreement” and without witnesses, without the finances of Fifa not by allowing immediate payment to Michel Platini.