Fifa scandal engulfs Blatter and Platini

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Fifa scandal engulfs Blatter and Platini
Sepp Blatter with Michel Platini in Zurich.

Zurich - Swiss prosecutors probe illegal payment to French legend


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Published: Sat 26 Sep 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sat 26 Sep 2015, 10:57 AM

The Fifa scandal on Friday engulfed Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, the two most powerful figures in world football with Swiss prosecutors investigating an illegal two million dollar payment from Blatter to the French legend.
Swiss investigators opened criminal proceedings against Fifa president Blatter and searched his office and also quizzed his UEFA counterpart Platini.
"Swiss criminal proceedings against the President of Fifa, Mr. Joseph Blatter, have been opened on 24 September 2015 on suspicion of criminal mismanagement...and - alternatively - misappropriation," said a statement from Switzerland's attorney general's office (OAG).
Blatter, 79, is standing down because of corruption scandals involving other top officials and Platini had been favourite to win an election to be held in February to succeed him. The Swiss prosecutor said in a statement that "the defendant Joseph Blatter" had been questioned and "the office of the Fifa President has been searched and data seized."
Blatter was questioned as "a suspect". The statement added that Platini had been questioned "as a person called upon to give information."Blatter "is suspected of making a disloyal payment of 2.0 million Swiss francs ($2.04 million/1.8 million euros) to Michel Platini, president of Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), at the expense of Fifa," the office said. The alleged payment was made in February 2011 "for work performed between January 1999 and June 2002."
Platini is a former Blatter ally who turned against the veteran Swiss sports baron over the past 18 months as Fifa's troubles mounted. The investigation is also into Blatter's links with Jack Warner, a former Fifa vice-president now at the centre of a US investigation into football corruption.
The attorney general said Blatter was suspected of making a deal "unfavourable to Fifa" with the Caribbean Football Union, which Warner used as his power base.
A Trinidad court on Friday announced that it would rule on December 2 on whether Warner should be extradited to the United States. The court rejected Warner's request to be freed.
Warner is one of 14 soccer officials and business executives charged by US prosecutors of involvement in more than $150 million in bribes for football broadcasting and marketing deals. Nearly all of the suspects are from central and south America.
Until recent days, Fifa's top leadership had escaped accusations flying around the world body, which earns $5 billion from the World Cup.

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