The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has opened criminal proceedings against FIFA president Sepp Blatter on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and misappropriation.
Blatter is suspected of signing a contract with the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) that was deemed "unfavourable" for FIFA in 2005, as well as making a "disloyal payment" to UEFA president Michel Platini in 2011.
OAG interrogated the 79-year-old after a meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee in Zurich on Friday, while also conducting a house search at FIFA headquarters with the support of the Federal Criminal Police.
“Swiss criminal proceedings against the President of FIFA, Mr. Joseph Blatter, have been opened on 24 September 2015 on suspicion of criminal mismanagement (Article 158 Swiss Criminal Code / SCC) and – alternatively – misappropriation (Article 138 Swiss Criminal Code / SCC),” an official statement from OAG reads.
“On the one hand, the OAG suspects that on 12 September 2005 Mr. Joseph Blatter has signed a contract with the Caribbean Football Union (with Jack Warner as the President at this time); this contract was unfavorable for FIFA. On the other hand, there is as suspicion that, in the implementation of this agreement, Joseph Blatter also violated his fiduciary duties and acted against the interest of FIFA and/or FIFA Marketing & TV AG.
“Additionally, Mr. Joseph Blatter is suspected of a disloyal payment of CHF 2 Mio. to Michel Platini, President of Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), at the expense of FIFA, which was allegedly made for work performed between January 1999 and June 2002 ; this payment was executed in February 2011.
“On 25 September 2015, representatives of the OAG interrogated the defendant Joseph Blatter following a meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee. At the same time, Michel Platini was heard as a person asked to provide information (Article 178 of the Swiss Code of Criminal Procedure).
“Furthermore, the OAG conducted on 25 September 2015 a house search at FIFA Headquarters with the support of the Federal Criminal Police. The office of the FIFA President has been searched and data seized. As for all defendants, the presumption of innocence applies for Mr. Joseph Blatter.”
FIFA, meanwhile, has stressed that it has cooperated with the OAG and will continue to do so throughout the investigation.
“Since 27 May 2015, FIFA has been cooperating with the Office of the Swiss Attorney General (OAG) and has complied with all requests for documents, data and other information. We will continue this level of cooperation throughout the investigation,” an official statement reads.
“Today, at the Home of FIFA, representatives from the Office of the Swiss Attorney General conducted interviews and gathered documents pursuant to its investigation. FIFA facilitated these interviews as part of our ongoing cooperation.
“We will have no further comment on the matter as it is an active investigation.”
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