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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Blatter and Platini sentenced to 20 months in prison

BELLINZONA, Switzerland ( Associated Press) — Swiss prosecutors on Wednesday demanded 20 months of suspended prison sentences for both former FIFA presidents Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini in a fraud trial.

Blatter and Platini, the former French captain who became UEFA president, faced up to five years in prison for financial irregularities. But after 11 days of trial, both were not expected to end up in jail. The decision is expected to be announced on July 8.

Prosecutor Thomas Hildebrand also asked three judges at the Belinzone Federal Criminal Court to pay Platini back more than 2.2 million Swiss francs ($2.2 million) in compensation to FIFA.

Blatter and Platini denied committing fraud and other misdemeanors related to a $2 million payment made to Platini in 2011. At the time, Platini was serving as UEFA president and FIFA vice-president, with Blatter being tipped to succeed in 2015.

Platini said in a statement released after the court session that he was “calm and confident”.

“There is no basis for the allegations presented by the prosecutor today,” Platini said. “The trial showed that there was no justification for this court case.”

Prosecutors argued that FIFA had no legal or contractual basis to pay Platini to advise him during Blatter’s first term between 1998 and 2002. FIFA also paid $229,000 in Social Security taxes in Zurich.

Both have denied any wrongdoing and said that they reached an oral agreement in 1998 to receive additional pay for Platini, which FIFA could not provide at the time. Platini signed a contract in August 1999 to receive 300,000 Swiss Francs ($300,000) per year.

That defense failed before the judges of the FIFA Ethics Committee, who banned him from the game, and then appealed to the Court of Arbitration for the Game.

Blatter argues that FIFA correctly documented the money, and Platini claims that the complaint surfaced in September 2015 to present his candidacy for the post of FIFA president.

In June 2015, Blatter advanced his resignation as FIFA president as a result of a massive corruption scheme uncovered by the United States justice system. A separate Swiss prosecutor’s case prompted the Platini payments investigation.

Blatter, 86, and Platini testified last week and are due to make final arguments at the end of the trial on June 22.

World Nation News Desk
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