Burrata and Platini acquitted of FIFA fraud

Bellinzona, Switzerland — Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini were arrested Friday by the Swiss Criminal Court for stealing FIFA. This is a rare positive result for the pair, who were one of the most powerful figures in football before being involved in a corruption investigation.

The proceeding was centered around a $ 2 million payment from FIFA to Platini with Blatter’s approval in 2011 for work done 10 years ago. The ruling followed an 11-day trial in Bellinzona’s Swiss Federal Criminal Court last month.

“First of all, I must say I’m a very happy man,” 86-year-old Blatter told reporters on the court stairs. “I’m a happy man because he explained to us today’s court, this city, the people of the court, how they analyzed the situation, and why we two did nothing.”

Swiss prosecutor Thomas Hildbrand sentenced both Blatter and Platini to a suspended sentence of 20 months. Instead, both were liquidated during the trial and given a total cost, but Blatter also received compensation of CHF 20,000 ($ 20,500) for being morally injustice, the court said.

While the verdict was announced, Blatter and Platini sat quietly at a separate table from the lawyer. Then, after a short conversation with each other and a bitter smile, when the two men started out of court, there was applause from a small general audience.

“Following the decision of the judge in Bellinzona Court, this morning I wanted to express my happiness to all my loved ones that justice was finally done after seven years of lies and manipulations,” Platini said. Said. “The truth was revealed during this trial.”

“I kept saying that: My fight is a fight against injustice. I won the first game. In this case, there are criminals who didn’t show up during this trial. Rely on them. Let me see, we will meet again, because I will not give up and will continue to seek the truth. “

The three federal judges said the “in dubio pro reo” principle that prosecutors should not be convicted if guilty remains questionable because the prosecutors did not fully substantiate their allegations. Said had to apply.

The objection must be announced within 10 days.

“FIFA keeps in mind the first-instance judgment in connection with the indictment filed by the OAG (Swiss Law Office) and awaits a full written and reasonable judgment to evaluate and determine the next procedural stage. FIFA lawyer Catherine Hall Chillage said.

In June 2015, Blatter announced his plans to resign early as a result of a vast US corruption investigation. In less than four months, another collaborative proceeding by a Swiss prosecutor investigated Platini’s payments.

Fallout has removed Blatter from the office, but the campaign to take over Platini’s former mentor has also ended, and French football has been largely removed as chairman of the UEFA, the governing body of European football.

“Believe me. It’s very difficult to change from a world football legend to a devil, especially if it’s a totally unfair way for you,” Platini added.

Michel Platini
On the final day of the trail, after the ruling is announced, former Union of European Football Associations (UEfA) President Michel Platini (C), surrounded by media representatives, speaks to the media in front of the Swiss Federal Criminal Court 2022 7 It was held on the 8th of March in Bellinzona, Switzerland. (Ti-Press / Alessandro Crinari / Keystone via AP)

Both Blatter and Platini have long denied cheating, claiming that in 1998 Platini made an oral arrangement to obtain additional salaries that FIFA could not afford at the time. Platini signed a contract in August 1999 to pay CHF 300,000 ($ 300,000) annually.

The defense was first failed by a FIFA Ethics Committee judge who banned football, followed by a separate appeal in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Platini finally won a legal victory in the first criminal proceeding after losing in five civil courts, including the European Court of Human Rights.

His ban on unethical conduct by FIFA expired in October 2021, and Friday’s ruling should pave the way for Platini to return to work in football.

“I don’t know. I’m so young that I have time in front of me,” said 67-year-old Platini when asked if football time was over.

Platini did not identify the current FIFA President Gianni Infantino, although it seemed clear that he was one of the “criminals” mentioned.

Infantino was UEFA Secretary-General for six years under Platini and chaired FIFA as an emergency candidate in the February 2016 elections after his boss was involved in a criminal investigation. Platini has long claimed to be the victim of a plot denying him the job of top FIFA, and has filed criminal charges against Infantino and others in France last year.

Infantino faces reelection in March next year, but Platini was unable to challenge what is often referred to as his fate. But when he was asked if he could run for president, he laughed out loud.

Infantino faces his own legal dangers in another investigation with former Attorney General Michael Lauber on a private meeting of Swiss special counsel on the 2016 and 2017 FIFA cases. I am.

Blatter, who appeared to be frail in court, was again banned by a FIFA ethics judge last year in 2028 on suspicion of concession to a management bonus.

“My football ban wasn’t fair,” Blatter said. “But I’m still here. By this court’s decision, I still have some credit, so not only will I get more credit, but I’m new to working in FIFA and working in football. It gives you stamina. “

Blatter was asked if he had a message for his Swiss compatriot, Infantino.

“No, I don’t talk about my compatriots,” he said. “But he will think about his attitude now when he is listening to the decisions made in this court.”

Blatter is also a suspect in another Swiss criminal procedure, also led by prosecutor Hildbrand, who paid $ 1 million to the FIFA in 2010 to the Trinidad Tobago Football Federation, a shameful footballer at the time. Was dominated by Jack Warner.

Daniela Matal

Associated Press