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Blatter, Platini to face Swiss corruption trial in June

Blatter, Platini to face Swiss corruption trial in June

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter arrives before a commemoration service for the former coach of the Swiss national football team Kobi Kuhn at the Grossmunster church in Zurich on Dec 13, 2019. (File photo: Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann)

ZURICH: Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and ex-UEFA president Michel Platini will go on trial in June to face Swiss corruption charges over a US$2 million payment that world football's governing body made to Platini, the court announced on Tuesday (Apr 12).

Both Blatter and Platini have repeatedly denied wrongdoing in the past over the incident, for which Swiss prosecutors indicted them last November.

Prosecutors allege that Blatter improperly arranged the payment to Platini, who captained France to victory in the 1984 European Championship, in 2011 for consulting work. Blatter and Platini said that the payment was for backdated salary.

Both are suspected of fraud and other charges amid what became part of the biggest corruption scandal to shake FIFA.

Blatter, who led FIFA for 17 years, resigned in 2015, followed by Platini in 2016. Both were handed six-year bans for ethics violations.

The trial before the Swiss Federal Criminal Court is due to start on Jun 8 and last until Jun 22, the court said on its website.

Former head of the European football association UEFA Michel Platini leaves a judicial police station in Nanterre, France, on Jun 19, 2019, where he was detained for questioning over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup. (File photo: Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes)

The office of Blatter's attorney declined comment. At the time of his indictment, Blatter said: "I look forward to the trial before the Federal Criminal Court with optimism, and I hope that this story will come to an end and that all the facts will be dealt with properly."

Platini's Swiss lawyer was not immediately available for comment. In the past, he has said that his client was innocent and that the case should have been dropped long ago.

The court said that Blatter and Platini are accused of having unlawfully obtained, to the detriment of FIFA, the payment of 2 million Swiss francs (US$2.15 million) and social security contributions worth around 229,000 francs for Platini.

"Among other things, Michel Francois Platini had submitted to FIFA in 2011 a presumably fictitious invoice for an (allegedly) still existing claim for his consulting activities for FIFA in the years 1998 to 2002," it said.

Source: Reuters/kg

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